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Top court orders Turkish gov’t to pay damages to Syrian refugee for deportation

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of a Syrian refugee who lodged an individual application due to a deportation order issued because of his involvement in a fight, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Wednesday.

After the refugee, Abdulkerim Hammud, got involved in a fight in southeastern Şanlıurfa province, where he resided, he was taken into custody, although the parties involved in the fight didn’t file complaints against each other.

Hammud was then sent to the Şanlıurfa Provincial Directorate of Migration Management for deportation on the grounds that he “posed a threat to public order, security or health.”

He was forced to fill out a “voluntary return form” on July 18, 2019, which was prepared in both Turkish and Arabic and said that Hammud was provided with detailed information regarding the general situation and security conditions in his country of origin by the Turkish authorities.

“I am aware that with my voluntary return, the protection provided to me by the Republic of Turkey comes to an end. After evaluation, I confirm my decision to voluntarily return to the Syrian Arab Republic,” Hammud was also made to say in the form.

Although the refugee filed a lawsuit against the deportation order, he was sent to the Hatay Deportation Center before the case was concluded and was deported to Syria the same day.

The administrative court that rendered its decision after the deportation order was carried out found it to be unlawful and revoked it. The court emphasized in the decision that there were no complaints filed against Hammud and no ongoing terrorist investigation into him.

According to DW, the Constitutional Court also announced its decision on the refugee’s individual application regarding the issue, ordering the government to pay him TL 50,000 ($1,855) in damages for violating his rights to life, prohibition of torture and ill-treatment and effective legal remedy.

The top court’s decision pointed out that in the voluntary return form, there were no details provided regarding the applicant’s personal situation in Syria beyond general statements about risks. Additionally, it was noted that there was no explanation as to why the possible risk that justified the applicant’s temporary protection and was acknowledged in the deportation decision was no longer valid.

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