Alleged push-back case at Austrian-Slovenian border will be heard on March 2nd

What we demand is that Austrian law, Union law and international law be respected, no more and no less. The law applies to everyone, including the police.

Clemens Lahner, Lawyer

Vienna/Graz (OTS) After months of diffuse rumours, two cases of groups of people who had entered Austria and – according to their accounts – were wishing to ask for asylum, but were denied their rights became known last autumn. One of the parties concerned was able to bring a complaint and his case will be heard next week in Graz (Austria) in front of the administrative court.

Ayoub N. was travelling in a group of seven Moroccans who entered Austria on September 28th, 2020. A significant manhunt was mounted by police who eventually caught the group and brought them to a police station. What happened next is the subject of the upcoming court hearing. The group alleges that despite their repeated pleas for asylum, they were ignored, laughed at, and even denied food. Hours later they were handed over to Slovenian police who in turn pushed them back to Croatia where they were forced back into Bosnia.

Anyone entering Austria and stating their intention to apply for asylum has the right to file an application and receive due process; local police officers have no right to refuse or pre-empt such a decision.

The upcoming court hearing is extremely relevant as it may help to shed light on the opaque practices of Austrian police and their role in numerous chain pushbacks along the Balkan Route which have gained increasing notoriety with hundreds of cases of violence and torture at the Croatian-Bosnian border and inhumane conditions suffered by thousands trapped in the border region there.

“What we demand is that Austrian law, Union law and international law be respected, no more and no less. The law applies to everyone, including the police.”

In 2016 the same judge heard a series of cases on push-backs in Spielfeld in the last weeks of the so called border-management there and ruled in favour of complainants in the majority of cases. The hearing brought to light a whole series of problems and shortfalls in police practice at the border.

As a direct result of the push-back of Ayoub and the other members of his group, Austrian activists recently created the 24/4 phone number “Push-Back Alarm Austria” to support people on the move.

A parliamentary question raised in connection with the case was recently replied by the Minister of the Interior and shed some light on numbers which have been very hard to come by. Figures provided show that in 2020 alone 514 persons were turned over to Slovenian police at the Styrian border, nearly 100 of which came from insecure countries such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, etc.

Rückfragen & Kontakt:

Birgit Roth
(Border Crossing Spielfeld / Push-Back Alarm Austria)




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