Cyprus Mail

Syrian national loses third asylum appeal due to suspected Isis links

The Menoyia detention centre

A Syrian national who has been held at the Menoyia detention centre for around a year, this week saw his appeal for release rejected by the Supreme Court for the third time, after testimony from his brother that he was a member of Isis.

The man had asked the Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his detention as an asylum seeker at Menoyia since May 2019 was illegal.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal for the third time arguing that the applicant was a threat to Cypriot society.

According to the Supreme Court ruling, the man was living in Cyprus between 2007 and 2014 when he went back to Syria. He returned to Cyprus in May 2019 from Turkey through the north. As soon as he crossed to the government-controlled areas he was arrested because his name was on the stop-list for terrorism-related links since December 2014.

Two days after his arrest, the man filed for subsidiary protection which is international protection for persons seeking asylum who do not qualify as refugees. He has been held at Menoyia since.

The court said that the suspect’s brother was the one who revealed his links with terrorism in testimony he gave to police in September 2014.

The suspect’s brother, who lives permanently in Cyprus told police at the time that the suspect had gone to Syria to join Daesh (Isis).

He also said that the suspect had even posted a photo of Daesh fighters on Facebook.

The court said the applicant did not admit any involvement with Daesh but said he was involved with Ahrar al Sham, which although not classified as a terrorist organisation by the EU, the UN or the US, cooperates with terrorist organisations and some of the acts it committed are considered war crimes.

It added that the applicant made his own claims as to the reasons he had gone to Syria in 2014. He also said that the Facebook photo his brother mentioned, did not concern terrorists but armed men fighting against the Syrian regime, the court said.

The court said in its ruling that “the applicant’s detention was still necessary as he constituted a real, current and serious threat to national security.”

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