An administrative lower court has ruled that the renewed incarceration of a Turkish officer who had been granted political asylum is legal.
The officer, who was among eight Turkish officers who fled to Greece after the abortive coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July, 2015, was freed after being granted international protection by an appellate asylum committee, but was again remanded in custody by the aliens bureau after the Greek government contested the asylum decision.
The administrative court ruled that given the fact that the 18-month maximum preliminary custody period had not been exhausted, and since the officer’s extradition is not possible – the Greek Supreme Court ruled definitively that none of the eight can be extradited to Turkey as they cannot be guaranteed a fair trial – the incarceration does not violate Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which regulates issues of Liberty and Security.
“His individual behavior, including his illegal entry into the country [Greece], constitutes a serious threat to public order and to national security,” according to the on-duty president of the Administrative Lower Court.
The court dismissed a proposal by the officer’s lawyers that he be held under police guard at a specific private residence because, “the personal security of the alien does not permit alternative modes of incarceration”.
The lawyers for the 35-year-old Turkish officer, who was the co-pilot helicopter with which the eight fled to Alexandroupolis after the coup, described the incarceration as illegal and arbitrary, at the court hearing yesterday.
The ruling cited an Administrative Appellate Court’s recent decision suspending the officer’s international protection status, after the Greek government challenged the asylum decision by requesting a temporary injunction.
“After the issuance of the temporary injunction, the alien remains in the country with his previous status, without necessary documents and without the security afforded him by the granting of asylum. His status is that of an asylum applicant,” the court ruling stated.