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European Court of Justice advisor: migrants being illegally detained on Serbian-Hungarian border
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European Court of Justice advisor: migrants being illegally detained on Serbian-Hungarian border

The European Court of Justice Advocate General said Thursday that four migrants are being illegally detained on the Serbian-Hungarian border in an area called Röszke.

The migrants in the case are an Afghan couple and an Iranian man and his son. Both sets of migrants arrived to Hungary in 2019. They applied for asylum, and the Hungarian authorities rejected their asylum claims. The court found that the authorities did not examine their asylum claims on the merits because the authorities believed the principle of non-refoulment did not apply. In addition, authorities cited Hungarian law for rejecting the claims. After being turned away from Hungary, Serbia did not admit the migrants either.

The Advocate General found in his non-binding opinion that the authorities are keeping the migrants in illegal detention in the Röszke transit area. Article 2 (h) of Directive 2013/33, defines the term “detention” as “any measure of isolation of an asylum seeker by a Member State in a given place, where the asylum seeker is deprived of their freedom of movement.”

The Advocate General also found that if migrants are denied asylum from a “safe transit country,” then the former country in which the asylum seekers arrived, in this case Hungary, must resume procedures for examining the asylum claim.