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‎‘No One Is Taking This Man’s Life Seriously’‎

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Somali’s Israel-Cyprus Asylum Bounce Enters Another Chapter

Neither Cyprus nor Israel seems to want Faisal Ali Madadal

Cyprus , Dec. 15, 2005 (The Cyprus Mail) – AN ISRAELI Immigration Court has ruled that a Somali refugee registered as an asylum seeker in Cyprus be returned to the island for a hearing at the end of next month.

Neither Cyprus nor Israel seems to want Faisal Ali Madadal, 39, a professional swimming and diving instructor, who has been deported between the two countries several times in the past year.

He fled from Somalia to Israel in 1997 with his three small children after several members of his family were murdered and he was afraid for his life.

However, Israeli policy says that people from countries hostile to Israel cannot seek asylum there. In April 2002 he was put in detention in Israel for being an illegal alien and held there for nearly three years.

In February 2005, the Cyprus embassy in Israel granted him a nine-day visa to visit Cyprus , where he lawfully entered, and immediately asked for political asylum.

He was illegally arrested while his application was under review. At the time he was technically on the island lawfully as he had a nine-day visa.

His lawyer Nicos Clerides said Madadal’s asylum application was wrongfully rejected by the relevant committee and he was then deported to Israel before the court could hear a plea for his release.

Madadal was sent back to Cyprus by the Israeli authorities immediately and he was then re-deported back to Israel by Cypriot immigration authorities without the knowledge of his lawyer and before his next appearance date in court.

Clerides argues that Immigration illegally arrested his client when he had legitimate status on the island. He further argues that the asylum committee rejected his asylum application in bad faith, knowing that he had been wrongfully detained. He also charges the authorities with deporting his client twice to Israel , each time before a crucial hearing in court to secure his release.

Although the asylum application was ultimately rejected, Madadal was allowed under the law to appeal the decision but he was once again deported to Israel on May 15, a day before his court hearing.

“The ( Cyprus ) Immigration authorities secretly took Madadal from his cell and forced him onto a Cyprus Airways jet to Tel Aviv without notifying the Attorney General, the Cyprus Courts and the Israel authorities,” said the Israeli court. He was then sent back to Cyprus for his hearing but on May 18, the Cypriot authorities again secretly deported him to Israel where he is still detained.

The Israeli Immigration Court criticized the Israeli authorities for having “done nothing” to send the Somali man back to Cyprus since as the Cypriot authorities are refusing to allow Israel to send Madadal back to the island.

“This judicial decision highlights the urgent need to put an end to the suffering and misery of Mr. Madadal,” said the court. “As countries respecting the rule of law, Israel and Cyprus must obey the decisions of both the Israeli and Cyprus courts and coordinate his immediate transfer to Cyprus where he is entitled to continue his appeal.”

The court also expressed the conviction that after the Cyprus Supreme Court hears all the facts of the case, it would grant asylum to Madadal.

Madadal is due before the Supreme Court on January 23. Clerides said yesterday he had received the Israeli court’s ruling and that he would be presenting it at the court in Cyprus .

The Israel Court said it was unthinkable that the Cypriot immigration authorities would flout the decision of the Supreme Court to hear Madadal’s case. It called the authorities here unreasonable.

“The current situation is Kafkaesque, if not completely absurd,” the Israeli Court said. “This court contends that this situation cannot continue. This court is astonished by the fact that no one in the Israeli government is giving serious attention to this matter.”


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