Authorities in Cyprus have finally allowed Ahmed H, a Syrian man wrongly convicted in Hungary in a blatant misuse of terrorism-related charges, to return to his family, Amnesty International said on Saturday.
“After four long years of separation Ahmed has finally been reunited with his family, just in time for his elder daughter’s tenth birthday,” Amnesty’s Giorgos Kosmopoulos said. “His return home to Cyprus is an overwhelming relief for the family, but he should never have been prosecuted, let alone convicted on those trumped up charges in the first place.
“Ahmed’s wish to bring his Syrian family to safety was what led him to be in Hungary in 2015. It is a scandal that the Hungarian government kept him away from his wife and children for so long, but after Cyprus did the right thing, today we celebrate that they are now reunited.”
Ahmed is a Syrian national and a former long-term resident of Cyprus. His wife is a Cypriot national as are his two young daughters, who were born and have lived in the country all their lives.
In August 2015, Ahmed left his home in Cyprus and traveled to Turkey to help his elderly parents and six other family members escape war-ravaged Syria and find safety in Europe.
Around a month later, having successfully navigated their way out of Turkey, Ahmed and his family members found themselves among hundreds of refugees stranded at the Hungarian border, following the country’s decision to fence off the crossing from Serbia.
Clashes broke out as some refugees attempted to get through and Ahmed was one of eleven people arrested but was the only one charged under Hungary’s draconian counter-terrorism law.
Ahmed spent more than three years in prison and endured a long legal ordeal in the hope of being able to return to Cyprus.
On January 19, 2019, he was released from prison and sent to a Hungarian immigration detention centre, after the authorities asked Cyprus to take him back.
He arrived in Larnaca airport in the early hours Saturday just in time for his elder daughter’s tenth birthday.