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LN: Foreign asylum holders face legal vacuum in ČR

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Prague, April 21 (CTK) – The case of Ruslan Mukuschev, an ethnic Chechen with Austrian asylum who was recently arrested on a shopping trip to the Czech Republic, showed that the EU lacks legislation to bind its members to recognise asylum status granted elsewhere, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes Friday.

Mukuschev, a 46-year-old father of five, who has been living in Vienna with the status of a political asylum holder and working as a judo coach, went shopping to Brno, south Moravia, by bus in January.

Immediately after crossing the border, the bus was halted by the Czech police who checked the passengers’ documents. Unfortunately, Mukuschev forgot his asylum card at home and could only produce his Austrian driving licence, LN writes.

The police found out that Russia issued a warrant for his arrest several years ago. A Brno court decided that he be placed in a preliminary detention cell, where he spent ten weeks, the daily writes.

In late March, the court decided that the extradition of the man to Russia for prosecution is inadmissible. He was released and enabled to reunite with his family in Vienna.

The court in Brno came to the conclusion that Austrian asylum is a sufficient reason for Czech courts not having to discuss Mukuschev’s extradition to Russia.

In other words, 13 years of decent life in Austria were sufficient for the arguments speaking for his return to Vienna to prevail over the arguments that speak for his extradition, the court decided, LN writes.

Luckily for Mukuschev, an Austrian court previously dealt with the illegal medicine business charges brought against him in Russia. The court said the warrant for his arrest amounted to bullying after Mukuschev proved that the charges were fabricated and unjust, the daily writes.

He also partly owes his release to the interest the Czech Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU), Amnesty International and the Prague branch of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) showed in his case, the daily writes.

Austria, too intervened in it, according to the information of the Der Standard daily, which was the first to report about the affair.

Mukuschev spent ten weeks in Czech custody also because he found himself in a legal vacuum outside Austria. For the Czech court, he was still a Russian citizen, in spite of his long stay in Vienna. The Austrian authorities could not support him like they support Austrian citizens, since asylum holders do not enjoy their host country’s full legal protection abroad, LN writes.

No international rules define the situations where refugees with asylum status are detained outside their host country, it writes.

“We want to achieve the system of EU member countries respecting not only [each other’s] negative decision on foreigners’ cases. If someone has been expelled, the decision is valid all over the EU, but the granting of asylum is not automatically recognised across the EU,” the paper quotes OPU director Martin Rozumek as saying.

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