Ahmad fled Afghanistan as a young man and lived in Greece since 2001. He speaks Greek fluently and became a part of society. He communicates in Greek with authorities.
After almost two decades in Greece, his father and brother passed away within a short period of time. Ahmad, to convey comfort for the family and to bid his farewell, traveled to Afghanistan. When Ahmad came back to Greece in 2019 to return to the life he had lived for so long, he was arrested and handcuffed.
The authorities in Greece indicated, that his only option would be to apply for asylum again. His residence permit would have ceased to exist European law stipulates that a status can only be revoked or ceased if a refugee voluntarily re-availed himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality. The fact that Ahmad did not do this when he attended the funerals of his family members should also have been clear to the Greek authorities.
Nevertheless, we met Ahmad at the detention center. His (renewed) asylum application had been rejected for the second time, because: Ahmad entered the country from Turkey. Greece assumes that Turkey is a safe third country for Afghans. Hence, the authorities are not interested in the situation in Afghanistan. Turkey however has not accepted anyone back on its territory since March 2020. And yet Ahmad was detained because he was to be deported to Turkey - although everyone knows that this is impossible and therefore illegal.
Together with Ahmad, we, Equal Rights, filed a subsequent asylum application and represented him in the hearing and administrative proceedings.
After months of advocacy, Ahmad was finally recognized (again) as a refugee and was released from detention after months of suffering and hopelessness.
He now lives back in Greece and can move freely.
*Name and age have been changed.