The young Russian had to leave the Czech Republic. He did not have the documents in order that would authorize him to stay in the country. The police decided so. But the choir was wrong. He didn’t even consider the possibility that the young man might be in danger in Russia. He is subject to the mobilization announced there due to the invasion of Ukraine. The Municipal Court in Prague therefore annulled the police order in closed proceedings. Aktuálně.cz has the judgment available.
Today, twenty-two-year-old Nikita Niagu came to the Czech Republic in 2019 and obtained a residence permit for the purpose of studying. He learned Czech in the course and got a part-time job. Before the permit expired, he applied for a new one, this time seeking an employee card. Thanks to her, he could live and work in the Czech Republic for another two years.
However, the domestic authorities did not grant him a permit, they finally came to this conclusion last May. Niagu didn’t even have a valid visa at the time. At that moment, he lost any document that would have allowed him to stay in the Czech Republic legally. The foreigner police therefore decided that he had to leave the country.
The young Russian built his defense on the fact that he did not want to return to Russia. He does not agree with the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin. As he pointed out, he would also be at risk of being drafted into the Russian army. He did not convince the police. Last week, however, he was defended by the Municipal Court in Prague, where he filed a lawsuit against the choir. However, Niaga had to leave the Czech Republic in the meantime.
The police breached their duty
According to the UN Convention on Refugees, a host country may not deport a foreigner where he or she would be in imminent danger because of his or her beliefs, political views or lifestyle. In the case of Niagua, the police did not properly deal with the possibility that his life could be in danger after he was evicted from the Czech Republic.
“It was not necessary to reject the assessment of the danger to the plaintiff in the event of travel to the Russian Federation in connection with the announced mobilization and his anti-war stance,” reads one of the key arguments of the judgment, which was delivered by the panel of judge Tomáš Švec last week and which is available to Aktuálně.cz.
Police argued that Niagu did not necessarily return to Russia. He could move to another European Union country. Judge Švec, however, rejected such an explanation. According to him, the police had the duty to verify whether the young Russian would be safe after leaving the Czech Republic. The fact that he did not have a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic does not change this. However, the congregation did not.
“If, as part of the procedure on the obligation to leave the territory of the member states of the European Union, it does not result that the foreigner voluntarily travels to a third country that accepts him, the administrative authorities must assess whether he is at risk of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the event of traveling to the home state, ” the court describes the duty that the police violated.
He was not allowed to wait for the judgment in the Czech Republic
Niagu did not receive a favorable judgment for himself in the Czech Republic. He had to respect the decision of the police regardless of the fact that he was defending himself against it in court. When filing the lawsuit, he asked the instance for a suspensive effect. Thanks to him, he could stay in the Czech Republic until the lawsuit is decided. However, Judge Švece’s Senate did not agree with him.
“I consider it a great injustice and a gap in the legal system. However, there is no right to grant a suspensive effect, so it depends only on the court whether to grant it,” Niagu’s lawyer Zdeněk Smrček told Aktuálně.cz. According to him, the police gave his client an alibi when they stated that the war “is not taking place on the territory of the Russian Federation, and therefore he is not in danger by returning to the Russian Federation.”
The Municipal Court in Prague defended the young Russian. | Photo: Jakub Plíhal
The young Russian left the Czech Republic on February 28. He first flew to Turkey, from where he went to Russia by bus. His mother lives there. Despite the favorable outcome of the dispute, Niagu can no longer legally enter the Czech Republic. Due to the invasion of Ukraine, the domestic authorities do not issue visas to Russians.
“Despite this, I still have great respect for the people of the Czech Republic, because ordinary people always tried to help me in a difficult situation, and all interactions were the best. In the Czech Republic, I learned Czech, passed exams in geography and history, respected the culture, traditions, people and the environment, contributed to the economy,” Aktuálně.cz said through its lawyer.
He can’t go back
The police can file a complaint against the verdict with the Supreme Administrative Court, but it is already final. According to the verdict, she should decide the case again. “The directorate is ready to use all corrective measures. We will not comment on the content of the measures,” foreign police spokesman Ivo Urban responded to the court’s verdict for Aktuálně.cz.
However, as it stands above, further proceedings on Niagua will be formal. He cannot return to the Czech Republic, even though the police decided on his departure illegally. According to the Organization for Aid to Refugees, cases like Nikita’s are repeatedly accompanied by such injustice. According to her, the solution could be to automatically grant suspensory effect to such lawsuits.
The organization’s lawyer Zuzana Pavelková then pointed out to Aktuálně.cz that Russians who do not agree to military service could apply for asylum in the Czech Republic. This is basic international protection. The Supreme Administrative Court recently decided in this spirit. “The Russian Federation is committing war crimes in Ukraine. Therefore, Russian citizens should not be forced to participate in them,” she said.
This year, the number of cases in which the police decided to deport foreigners under the same section as in Niagua has risen sharply. That is, because they did not have a residence permit. It follows from the statistics provided by the police that, while last year they intervened in this way with 721 people, this year there were already 1,032. It is not clear whether some of them also acted in violation of the law.
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