Hungary to pay €6,500 to Iraqi dentist detained for three months years ago

February 28. 2023. – 01:15 PM


Copied to clipboard

In 2015, Hungarian authorities detained an Iraqi asylum seeker who should not have been detained at all, for three months. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ordered that Hungary pay €6,500 (about 2.47 million forints) to the Iraqi man in compensation for the violation of his rights.

The young man, a 23-year-old dentist, crossed the Ukrainian-Hungarian border illegally as he could not have done so otherwise. He immediately informed the police that he was seeking asylum in Hungary. The asylum procedure was started and at the same time he was placed in asylum detention in Nyírbátor. The Hungarian court justified this on the grounds that his identity could not be established without valid papers and that he had no contacts in Hungary. The court first ordered his detention for two months, and then extended it for another month.

He was later recognised as a protected person by the Hungarian authorities. With the help of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Iraqi man took his case to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that his detention was unnecessary and therefore in breach of fundamental rights.

The Strasbourg Court agreed with the Iraqi complainant and ruled that the Hungarian authorities had indiscriminately violated his personal liberty by detaining him for three months as a refugee. The court said that the government's argument that the Iraqi complainant was detained to prevent his alleged escape from the authorities could not be accepted, as he had approached the police himself.

The Strasbourg judgment also ruled that the asylum seeker could not have been automatically detained simply on the grounds that the authorities assumed that he would not cooperate with them. The Strasbourg Court also found that the decisions to detain the man and to prolong his detention lacked adequate reasoning and did not take account of his individual circumstances.

Tímea Kovács, a lawyer for the Hungarian Helsinki Committee in Szeged, who represented the complainant in the Strasbourg proceedings, said that

"We are delighted by our client's victory. He had to wait almost eight years for this. This is not our first case in Strasbourg, we have won several others on abusive detention of asylum seekers. The situation has become even worse since then, as asylum seekers arriving irregularly are now not detained but are forced back to Serbia without any due procedure".

For more quick, accurate and impartial news from and about Hungary, subscribe to the Telex English newsletter!