Greek Council for Refugees files lawsuit over arrest and detention of Turkish officer

The NGO Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) said on Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit at the Athens prosecutor’s office against “everyone responsible” for what it claims is an illegal arrest and detention of one Turkish officer who received asylum by an independent asylum committee last year.

The lawsuit was notified to the Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou. Helicopter co-pilot Suleyman Ozkaynakcim is one of the eight servicemen who fled to Greece in 2016 after the failed coup attempt in Turkey. On Jan. 8, a court accepted the government’s request to temporarily suspend the officer’s asylum citing reasons of “public interest” and “the interests of the Turkish serviceman”.

An Athens administrative first-instance court on Tuesday upheld the decision to detain him, finding that it was lawful.

“Respect and protection of human rights and due process are non-negotiable. The State must apply in this case the solutions provided by the law for the safety of the ‘eight’ [Turkish officers], which do not in any way include detention,” the Council said in a press release.

The Council reiterated its argument that according to article 46, par. 1 of law 4375/2016, an asylum seeker, and especially one to whom asylum has been granted and is not in administrative detention, cannot be detained, unless he has committed other crimes.

Commenting on today’s court decision, the NGO said the failure to provide for a review process of relevant court decisions is “a persistent shortcoming” of Greek law, adding there are also other judicial paths to review the detention decision, which the Council will pursue.