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Court to dismiss Ameera Alkhawlany’s complaint of denial of international protection

Ameer Alkhawlany is an Iraqi citizen and former PhD student of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In April 2017 he was deported from Poland based on classified information which allegedly showed that Mr Alkhawlany was a “security threat”. In today’s decision, a Provincial Administrative Court dismissed the HFHR’s complaint against a decision of the Polish Council on Refugees which refused to grant international protection to Ameer Alkhawlany.

Judgment of PAC

The PAC in Warsaw ruled that Mr Alkhawlany’s case records confirm that in his case there were grounds for denying international protection, irrespective of the applicant’s fears of persecution in Iraq. The Court also held that all the foreigner’s procedural rights had been respected during the proceedings, pointing in particular to a guarantee provided by the unrestricted access to the case files granted to the Commissioner for Human Rights. However, according to the HFHR, such a situation violates a procedural standard adopted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as the EU law.

“These standards require the existence of certain guarantees of the right to a defence such as an asylum seeker’s right to access confidential documents through a ‘special counsel’, says Jacek Białas, an attorney representing the HFHR in this case. “Also, the EU law provides that a decision must be justified, while the decision in Mr Alkhawlany’s case did not divulge any facts that served as the basis for considering him a security threat”, Mr Białas adds.

In the opinion of the Helsinki Foundation, the Ombudsman’s ability to access the case files has nothing to do with the exercise of a foreigner’s rights as the Ombudsman’s role does not include representation of a party to a specific case.

The HFHR has submitted a separate complaint against the compulsory return decision issued for Mr Alkhawlany. A date of the hearing of this complaint is yet to be set.

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