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European court blocks expulsion of African teen

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08:30 CET+01:00
The European Court of Human Rights has stepped in to block a deportation by the Swedish Migration Board of an 18-year-old Ethiopian girl, who has resided in Sweden for the past six years, in a move that has been hailed by her lawyer.

The teenager arrived in Sweden six years ago with her father and recently applied to extend her stay. When the request was made a DNA test was carried out, which revealed that the man was not the girl's biological father. 

It's understood that the revelation came as a huge shock to them both, as the girl had been raised by the man since she was four years of age.

Following the DNA findings both the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) and the Migration Board of Appeals (Migrationsdomstolen) decided to separate them.

It was ruled that the father could remain in Sweden but that the 18-year old would be deported back to Ethiopia. The ruling was brought to the attention of the European Court of Human Rights by the girl's lawyer, Jan Södergren, who reported Sweden to the Strasbourg based court.

The girl was due to be deported on February 8th but the expulsion has been frozen by the European Court of Human Rights. In addition, the court is seeking an explanation from the Swedish Foreign Office as to why the girl was going to be deported in the first place.

"This is absolutely fantastic and shows that there is justice, though obviously outside Sweden," Södergren told Sveriges Television (SVT).

He added; "It is such a relief for her. To be honest I was unsure whether the European court would choose to stop the decision, normally they only stop such matters if there is a risk to life. But they likely thought this was such a distressing case and that is very gratifying."

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It remains unclear whether the European Court of Human Rights will take up the case with the girl's lawyer suggesting it could take up to three years for it to be heard.

Södergren added that he was confident his client would win the case as the European court equates non biological family ties with biological ones.  

The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.
 

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