Migration and Struggle in Greece

Archive for July, 2009

Arson attack against Fabrica YFANET squat, Thessalonik

Posted by clandestina on 25 July 2009


squat website:

Yfanet's door, photo from Athens Indymedia

Yfanet's door, photo from Athens Indymedia

Today Saturday morning at 5.05, some thugs positioned an arson mechanism on the iron main gate of the Fabrika Yfanet occupation. They left a bag with 6 gas cans, 1 4-liter petrol canister and a box of fire-starters.

The explosion came to the attention of the people who are inside the occupation and on standby after the latest threats to repress squatted sites. Immediately we came out and with the help of neighbors we put down the fire, while no damage was done.

Worth noting is the ‘quick mobilization’ of the police, as after 6 minutes from the explosion 3 patrol cars, 1 conventional police car with normal plates and one jeep came and started moving in close range. The jeep as some point stopped and cops started to provoke..

After 20 minutes two squads of riot police came up the corner of Katsimidi st. and Egnatia st. and continued to provoke. Other people was informed with telephones and came quickly.

It is the second attack against an occupied space in Thessaloniki within 4 days (the first was the occupied railroad car of Radio Revolt within the universities).

Nothing can decrease the determination by which we will defend the places where we live and breathe.

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Mytilini, Lesvos: Solidarity gathering blocks and prevents the deportation of 62 migrants

Posted by clandestina on 25 July 2009


Mytilini, Lesvos: Solidarity gathering blocks and prevents the deportation of 62 migrants


The following news comes from Mytilini, where a NoBorders Camp is set to take place on August 25-31. In the bosses’ world, we are all foreigners.

A participant’s account, from Athens IMC

At the Thursday’s dawn, at around 2am, the ferry from Mytilini to Kavala had been planned to deport 62 migrants-refugees from the Detention Centre in Pagani. Their destination was other detention centres in

mainland Northern Greece with their likely immediate deportation from there to their countries of origin, countries at war and with non-existent respect of elementary, given for us, human rights. The transfer was attempted with a municipal bus, in which the migrants were “loaded up” handcuffed, accompanied by police cars and undercover cops.

As soon as embarkation started, the guards created a cordon around the migrants and started to lead them on foot toward the catapult of the boat. The sixty of us who were there jumped in front of them, blocking with banners and with our bodies their entrance to the boat. At the same time, we shouted slogans and handed out texts to the people that continued entering and exiting the boat. Following an initial surprise, the return of the migrants back to the bus that transferred them was decided. We held our positions exchanging slogans with the migrants who slowly started to realise what was going on and in turn started to shout and to wave.

After an hour or so and while all vehicles carrying passengers had entered the boat, it was announced to the migrants that their transfer was canceled. With chants and clapping on both sides and under the slogan “solidarity is the weapon of the people, war to the bosses’ war”, the bus left the area of the port to an unknown direction.  The same did not happen however with the boat, that stayed there with one of its catapults open. At some point around 20 men of the Special Task Force (which we rarely see on the island) appeared and sat at some distance from us. The boat turned off its engine and the situation remained stable. After some negotiations the STF retreated and at around 4 a.m. the boat finally embarked, without taking the migrants with it. We also left, in a group.

Today’s deportation event was canceled. In the next ones that they will try, with all the powers that we’ve got, we’ll be there. We all know, as it has been repeatedly declared -as a main target of the national and

international policies- that the influx of migration needs to be “controlled” and “dealt with”. The mass operations and police pogroms in city centres are accompanied by “de-congestion” operations in the concentration camps in the islands with the migrants being sent to similar concentration camps being set up across the country. What is not controlled and settled ever, of course, is the reason of migration itself. This world, in other words, of exploitation, inequality, injustice: The world of the bosses, the world in which we were and remain foreigners.


and with the bitter taste in the mouth of cheering for the return of some people back to their horrific prison…

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Assault against counter-information radio station in Thessaloniki

Posted by clandestina on 23 July 2009


Translator’s intro: Radio Revolt is an unlicensed radio station in Greece which is devoted to counterinformation. It transmits from an occupied retired railway carriage in a university campus in Salonica. The station is well-known amongst the Greek radical youth, as Athens Indymedia has a permanent link to the station’s website:

On 21 July 2009 the station was attacked. Here is an adapted English translation of Radio Revolt’s announcement, originally in Greek:

During the morning of 21 July the occupied space where Radio Revolt is housed, the railway carriage of OSE (a Greek railway operator) in the centre of Aristotelian University’s campus in Salonica, was attacked by persons unknown with three molotov bombs. After the ‘unknown’ perpetrators attempted to attack our studio, without success, they resorted to bomb with their molotovs the WC of the radio station, and any damage done was limited within it. Our station stopped transmitting only for three hours just to allow for power to be restored, which we had cutted deliberately for safety reasons.

This attack on Radio Revolt is merely one more of the failed attempts by the state and the parastate, part of a semester-long series of attacks after December, ordered by the political and economic elite and executed by cops and fascists. Their goal is to suppress all voices of freedom, everyone who protests and resists. They seek to turn society more conservative, fascist, and xenophobic; their final aim, of course, is the establishment of terror. The police is being advertised as the new messiah, and the dogma of order and security is being presented as more necessary than ever.

Let them live in their dream: day by day the multifaceted resistance becomes more powerful, and thousands of people get their lives in their hands. The dynamic mobilisations and protests prove that all every threat manages to achieve is to make social movements more powerful.

Radio Revolt, against all of them who wish otherwise, transmits – and will carry on transmitting.

Against the mainstream media.


Radio Revolt

The original announcement, in Greek, can be accessed from

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21 JULY: Calais migrants resist eviction and deportation!

Posted by clandestina on 23 July 2009


21 JULY: Calais migrants resist eviction and deportation!

Migrants on the British border successfully resisted eviction and forced deportation yesterday. A handful of police raids were resisted by patrols of legal observers accompanied by journalists and cameramen, though at least 4 Afghans were taken by snatch squads.

Many migrants left their homes in Calais for Belgium or further afield once a report was leaked that French police were planning an ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Calais area. These measures are part of an ‘administrative agreement’ between Gordon Brown and Nicholas Sarkozy discussed (with immigration ministers Besson and Woolas in tow) in Evian, France on the 7th July prior to the G8.

However, the Mayor of Calais has announced a likely clearing of the jungle sometime in October. Eric Besson, the immigration minister has already promised to “faire disparaitre” or “disappear” unwanted migrants and they still remain under constant threat of violence, detention and deportation.

Activists intend to stay on the ground in Calais as long as possible to offer medical and legal assistance. They intend to work with migrants to build treehouses, solar showers and other exciting bits and pieces. If you want to come to Calais and help, or raise awareness of these issues in your local area please get in contact!

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Amnesty International: Further forced evictions leave large numbers homeless

Posted by clandestina on 23 July 2009


Amnesty International

Public Statement

AI Index: EUR 25/008/2009

22 July 2009

Greece: Further forced evictions leave large numbers homeless

Amnesty International is again calling on the Greek authorities to ensure that individuals made homeless following forced evictions are provided with suitable alternative accommodation, in line with the country’s international obligations.

According to reports, the latest incident started early in the morning of 20 July 2009 and was completed on 21 July 2009. The Greek police evicted around 100 individuals who had been living in the Old Appeal Court of Athens. No alternative accommodation was reportedly provided to those living in the disused courthouse either before or after the eviction. There are also reports that the remaining migrants living at the courthouse did not receive appropriate notification of the impending eviction by the police.

Around 600 persons, including irregular migrants and potentially asylum-seekers, had lived for the last three years in the disused courthouse in Sokratous street in squalid conditions with no water, electricity or proper sanitation. Over the past two months the Greek authorities had been making attempts to evict them from the building. The 600 inhabitants had refused to move, claiming they had no alternative accommodation. At the time of their eviction the number of those remaining there had been reduced to around 100 people, following a series of sweep operations by the police in the centre of Athens which led to many of those living in the courthouse being arrested for having no proof of their legal right to remain in Greece.

According to reports the police arrested only a few of those evicted, as most had left the building the night before and dispersed around the centre of Athens. Fears have been expressed by local non-governmental organisations that many of those evicted were subsequently arrested in sweep operations conducted by the police in the centre of Athens on 20 and 21 July and that those with no documents confirming their legal right to stay are likely to be detained and deported.

On 9 May 2009, five migrants were injured after members of a far-right group tried to storm the courthouse. Some human rights activists were also lightly injured during the attack. There were reports that although the police were present, they did not take action to prevent the attacks or protect those under the attack.

These events follow the eviction of around 300 migrants and asylum-seekers from their makeshift homes in Patras on 12 July 2009. At that time Amnesty International expressed concern that around 100 individuals were left homeless as a result, living in fields close to Patras without shelter, or access to water, sanitation and medical assistance. Among those left unprotected were said to be a small number of unaccompanied minors.

International law prohibits forced evictions. No one should be evicted without adequate notice, prior consultation, due process of law including access to legal remedies, and provision of adequate alternative accommodation. Forced evictions violate a range of international and regional human rights treaties and standards, which protect the right to adequate housing, most notably the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Greece is a party.

Evictions may only be carried out as a last resort, once all other feasible alternatives have been explored, and only when all appropriate procedural protections are in place. All persons, irrespective of their legal status, must be guaranteed protection against forced evictions.

For further information about Amnesty International’s concerns about the asylum system and the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants in Greece see:

Greece: Amnesty International condemns forced evictions in Patras,AI Index: EUR 25/007/2009

Through the Demand Dignity campaign, launched in May 2009, Amnesty International is calling on governments globally to take all necessary measures, including the adoption of laws and policies that comply with international human rights law, to prohibit and prevent forced evictions.

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A protest letter from British academic members regarding the recent attack on refugee camp in Patras Greece

Posted by clandestina on 22 July 2009


We are concerned about the British media silence regarding the recent attack on a refugee camp in Patras Greece as a reflection of the idea of Fortress Europe.

As trade unionists and academics who research issues of human rights and social inequality we strongly condemn the recent use of violence against migrants in Patras, Greece.

Greece has been repeatedly condemned by international organisations over maltreatment of migrants and asylum seekers. In recent weeks we have witnessed further demonisation and victimisation of migrants and asylum seekers. Punitive police operations are presented as the answer and the authorities fuel the media with xenophobic rhetoric and images. As a result there is a dramatic increase in cases of brutality against migrants. The authorities not only seem to tolerate attacks of fascist groups on individuals and families, but also orchestrated a brutal and unlawful operation against the refugee camp in Patras.

Thousands of migrants have been living in this makeshift camp for over the last eight years without any support and protection from the Greek state. The Greek authorities made it impossible for most of them even to apply for asylum, by not providing access to the necessary services. During this period the migrants were systematically harassed by the police and coast guard and were labeled as “clandestines”. Nevertheless, nothing could prepare the local community of Parts and the groups of citizens who voluntarily support the migrants, for what was about to happen last week.

In the early hours of Sunday 12/7/2009 and without any previous warning, hundreds of fully armed riot police engaged in an inhuman and appalling operation. As the UNHCR, International Human Rights Organsations and local support groups highlight, major streets were blocked and access to the area was banned. The state authorities, arrested hundreds of migrants, demolished and burned down the makeshift accommodation, including personal belongings, travel documents and the camp mosque. The migrants who had travel documents were temporarily directed to a local hotel. The rest of them were arrested and there seems to be no further information concerning their whereabouts. It is highly likely that a number of unaccompanied minors were among the group, as the decision on who was minor solely lied upon the “judgment” of riot police during this inhuman operation. We also express our concern about the possibility of forcible repatriation of the migrants to Afghanistan.

For the lucky ones who escaped arrest things are not any better. Without any facilities to offer protection and support, hundreds of migrants live dispersed and terrorized in the city centre without being able to meet their very basic human needs.

We demand answers to the following questions

  • The operation lacked any legal, ethical and moral basis. Who decided it?
  • Why did the operation take place without any previous warning and most importantly without ensuring that access to other reception facilities would be available?
  • How many migrants were arrested and where exactly are they being detained?
  • How did they ensure that unaccompanied minors were not maltreated and abused?
  • Why migrants were not offered an opportunity to apply for asylum?
  • Are there plans to forcibly repatriate them without any prior access to the asylum process?
  • Will Greece keep tolerating the racist and xenophobic attacks against migrants and their families?

In the absence of an official answer we reserve our right to visit the area and make use of any means at our disposal to ensure that the authorities and individuals involved will be held accountable of their actions.

Prof. Alex Callinicos, Kings College London

Dr. Karen Evans, University of Liverpool

Dr. Iain Ferguson, University of Stirling

Prof. Emer. Chris Jones, University of Liverpool

Dr. Vasilios Ioakimidis, Liverpool Hope University

Dr. Michael Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University

Mr. Peter Marsden Blackpool Local Government Unison (personal capacity)

Mrs. Julia Orry, Blackpool Branch Secretary (personal capacity).

Mrs. Laura Penkenth, University of Manchester

For more information please contact Dr. Vasilios Ioakimidis:,


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The last act in the evacuation of the former Court of Appeals building, Athens downtown.

Posted by clandestina on 22 July 2009

This a rough translation of a text by  Photo is from the same source.  More photos at the original post here.  In text links by clandestinenglish.

court of appeals building - evacuated

court of appeals building - evacuated

Images from the Court of Appeals building evacuation

The last phase of the evacuation of the former Court of Appeals building in Socratous took place yesterday. The evacuation process had begun long ago, with strong police forces present there on a 24/7  basis to prevent more people enter to the building and deter those who had left it enter it anew.
For some time now the Court of Appeals building had been a point of friction.  Just a few months ago, on the 9th of May Golden Dawn fascists and cops assaulted immigrants with stones, pieces of woods and tear-gases, in one more case of harmonious cooperation between the forces of repression  and the fascists.  The media dedicated quite a few hours to accommodate the racist cries of some “angry people” in the district (who later became residents of Aghios Panteleimonas).   On a daily basis cops and fascists kept sieging the building,  in joint exercises of hate, beating and arresting immigrants.
Of the hundreds of immigrants living in the Court of Appeals building, many have been arrested and will be imprisoned in concentration camps… (see for instance the Aspropyrgos one).
The aggressiveness of power  against immigrants continues….
What is on our side to be done is the organisation of resistances…
Solidarity will pass over racism and repression.

Aigaleo Anarchists Initiative.

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45 refugees reach the shore of southern Crete οn boats – solidarity campaign by the Forum of Immigrants in Crete

Posted by clandestina on 22 July 2009

a hand through a window - a photo from an action at Kissamos, Chania, where 113 refugees where detained

a hand through a window - a photo from an action at Kissamos, Chania, where 113 refugees where detained in September, 2006

Around 45 refugees reached yesterday night the shore of Palaiochora and Lafonisi οn boats.   Men, women and children.

In these times, when, according to some, the greatest evil society has to deal with are the “sans papiers”, what might be the fate of these wretched souls? The fate of those who, according to some, are not refugees, neither exiled, but clandestine, illegal, criminals, more dangerous, even than the network of gangsters-constructors-authorities who parade through TV screens the last few days, and appear to have been calling government ministers by their surname …

The sea washed 45 “utterly evil” people of this sort, refugees that is, ashore, yesterday, the 20th of July, 2009 on the south of the Prefecture of Hania.  These refugees have escaped some country of terror and death, presumably Iraq. Families with children, a pregnant woman… Wage labourers, mothers and children, who made it out of war, poverty and juntas… The politics that wants them illegal, clandestine, will detain them for months in prison cells, though they’ve commited no crime, it ‘ll keep them unemployed, it’ll force them work for 2 euros an hour. This politics goes against society’s interests.

The interests of us all working people, lay in the granting of asylum to all these people, so that they live in dignity with their families, to join unions, to join common struggles with their Greek colleagues against the real enemy: the cartel of political and economic power-holders, who set “criseis” up, who create unemployment, in order to cut down wages.

The 45 refugees are in a hotel in Georgioupolis.  The next days we will try to contact them, along with the Medecins du Monde and Amnesty International. Some first aid in clothes, especially underwear, would be very much appreciated. The office of the Forum of Immigrants in Crete (Chatzimihali Daliani 67, Chania) will be open for anyone who wishes to aid.



Χατζημιχάλη Νταλιάνη 67 , Chania, Crete, 73100

tel. 00302821058851, mobile. 00306973525049- 00306982445088

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The Destruction of a Refugee Camp in Greece: A report by the Movement for the Rights of Refugees and Immigrants in Patras.

Posted by clandestina on 21 July 2009

The Destruction of a Refugee Camp in Greece:

A report by the Movement for the Rights of Refugees and Immigrants in Patras.

Email of the Movement:

The consequences of the war by EU and US in Afghanistan are more than apparent in Greece. This war created thousands of refugees who are trying to survive by traveling to “democratic” Europe. Thousands have died on this “journey” and those that arrived alive face a “fortress Europe.” The following is a report about the destruction of a point of arrival, a refugee camp, in the third biggest town in Greece, Patras.

The Patras refugee camp was destroyed on July 12, 2009. It had a lifetime of approximately eight years. Located in the north of the city, next to a small river – Milichos – behind Iroon Polytechniou Avenue, it consisted of about 150 small huts, in an area of 5 to 6 acres, with a mosque in the center and a few improvised shops. It hosted and protected 1000 to 2000 refugees from Afghanistan. Though it was an improvised camp, under miserable hygienic conditions, it was the last refuge, the last hope for refugees in Patras. At least 300 of them had applied for asylum and had managed to get a “red card,” while 200 others wanted one, but could not apply, since the authorities who are responsible for accepting and processing applications did not have a translator.

Several attempts to demolish the camp were made by the authorities.

On the 23rd of January 2008, for example, with the use of a demolition protocol that was composed by the Prefecture and characterized the camp as “an arbitrary construction,” another effort to tear down the camp was made. This effort was preceded by an extensive operation that took place in order to arrest and remove from the city 1500 refugees. Both the arrest and the demolition activities were prevented after organized actions by the Movement of the rights of Refugees and Immigrants and a huge demonstration (of 2.000 people) that took place with the participation of the refugees themselves in the end of January.

A year later, second attempt was made on the 21st of January 2009, when a fire burned down about 40 huts. Authorities accused Afghans themselves as the arsonists. The fire was put out and the camp was once more saved.

The solidarity movement supported this “miserable camp” and insisted to the end that before demolishing the already existing refugee camp, a new one should be built within the city limits, where people could move freely whenever and wherever they wanted.

This claim was widely accepted and adopted by some official members of Mr. Karamanlis’ government, such as the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Pr. Pavlopoulos. The Support Movement to the Immigrants and Refugees and other organizations defending refugees rights also demanded that asylum and travel documents should be issued to the refugees, the under age should be protected, and activities aiming to the social integration of the refugees should be supported.

After the recent European Union (EU) elections, along with the rise of the right-wing party of LAOS, the (supposedly) socialist party of PASOK acceded to the ruthless EU measures against refugees: “No tolerance to illegal immigrants.” Those were the words used before the elections by the leader of PASOK, Mr. G. Papandreou. These are the immediate reasons why the plans for building a new refugee camp were abandoned and, instead, cruel police measures were adopted, including the fortifying of the harbor and the launching of police invasions on the camp. In addition several arrests were made under terrorizing circumstances. The refugees who were not arrested (especially those who had a red card) were threatened to prevent them from going near the camp again.

Under these circumstances – and especially because of the police actions – the number of residents in the camp dramatically declined during the past two months. The refugees stopped sleeping in the camp and dispersed within the city. Some of them fled to other places. Police authorities and the local political leadership were satisfied by the effectiveness of these measures and the decrease in the number of refugees, claiming that these measures helped to solve the “problem” of the camp without the need of creating a new host place.

Sunday morning of the 12th of July 2009, however, was the time of the “final solution.” At 5:30 am, police forces reinforced by six MAT squads (with blue and green overalls) – who came from Athens – surrounded the camp, under the presence of the local political leadership and a public prosecutor. Never before in Patras there was there a such “operation” by the police. And this “operation” was against people that are the victims of a war; that is, it is an “operation” against refugees that are created by the war of US and EU.

This operation found the parties of New Democracy, PASOK and LAOS, in agreement and in favor to the tough measures of the police forces. It was intended to solve the refugee problem in the city by military means. An official statement concerning this measure was released on Saturday evening, but it was not clear what it meant. Along with the remaining refugees, only 15 members of our organization and a few other people in solidarity were present. Other people, including young members of anarchists groups either failed to approach, got arrested or were detained for identification.

Some police forces encircled the camp while others invaded it. About 200 refugees who did not manage to escape were arrested. The leaders of the operation didn’t permit to the members of our organization to have any access to information or to the refugees. Only after two hours of pressure did we see a document by the Perfecture that permitted the destruction of the camp, but its legality is questionable.

Bulldozers, trucks and buses (one double-decker bus and three normal ones) arrived. Bulldozers made the final attack on the camp, while the buses gathered the refugees. Under-age children were taken and left at a shelter in Konitsa (400 km north). The red card possessors were taken away to a hotel, since the have applied for asylum. Those who did not have the appropriate papers and were not under age (always according to the decisions made by the police) were driven to an unknown destination and detained, without anybody being informed concerning their whereabouts. At 8 am, when Afghans disappeared from the camp, the bulldozers and the trucks began demolishing the huts, excluding the mosque in order not to be blamed for disrespect to this religious place. A few minutes later flames appeared in the camp site, completing the demolition quickly and without exceptions. The mosque turned into ashes.

According to the police, the fire was started by the Afghans and as proof of this claim video tape belonging to local TV stations showed three Afghans running in the camp. According to uncertain information at this time the three Afghans have already been tried in court for committing arson.

Later the same morning, a second operation started, this time against the Sudanese who live in the south of the city. The Sudanese have no huts, only blankets and cardboard shelters. For the authorities, it was a good opportunity to “clear” Patras from all foreigners.

The Movement for the Rights of Refugees and Immigrants states, «It is a failure of policy to resort to military solutions as a response to social problems. It is a failure of policy to be unable to design a long-term immigration plan. It is a failure of policy to make decisions while ignoring the causes that produce refugees. Tomorrow, in one week or in one month refugees will be here again.»

Doctors Without Borders (working inside the Afghans’ camp since May 2008 providing primary medical care and psychosocial support) expressed its deep concern after the police operation in the camp of Patras: «Most of the people are forced to leave their country because of war or extreme poverty and face an uncertain future and a possible detention for an unknown period of time. This can have very negative effects on health and psychological state ». The Communist Party and SYRIZA (left parties) made statements, condemned police operation against the Afghans’ camp and characterizing it as brutality.

While police forces and political leadership seem satisfied by the outcome of the operation, the Movement for the Rights of Immigrants and Refugees and several other movements of solidarity with the refugees are planning the following actions:

Supporting and offering solidarity to refugees and immigrants wherever they are found within the city, where they are hiding under the fear of arrests and deportations.

Taking all the necessary legal actions in order to find out the legitimacy of the break down of the camp.

Pushing the authorities to accept new applications for asylum.

Demanding that the asylum seekers are treated with dignity and have their rights protected.

Publishing the brutality, since hunting the refugees is a cruel barbarism.

We demand:

– The release of the arrested.

– The issuing of asylum and travel documents to the refugees.

– The protection of the under age with social inclusion measures.

– The social integration of the refugees.

As one of the asylum seekers told us yesterday “Even if the house of animals is destroyed, people permit them to build their house somewhere else. We don’t even have this right.”

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German judges reject Greek refugee hearings as unfair

Posted by clandestina on 21 July 2009

German judges reject Greek refugee hearings as unfair


Jul 20, 2009, 15:28 GMT

Frankfurt – German judges have described the hearings granted to refugees in Greece as unfair, and ordered a review in Germany of a refugee’s claims to political asylum, court officials said Monday.

The ruling by the Frankfurt tribunal puts a cornerstone of European Union refugee law in doubt.

After a million refugees entered Germany in the 1990s, Berlin began pushing refugees back to the EU nation where they first landed.

Justice officials said an Iranian man who entered Germany in October 2007 had argued he was entitled to have his argument for political asylum heard by a German board because Greece could not give him a proper hearing.

The tribunal agreed at a recent session, saying Greek treatment of asylum claims did not meet the standards of EU law.

Judges said fundamental protective mechanisms were missing from Greek legal procedures and refugees did not have access to full medical care.

To enter the 27-nation European Union without papers, many refugees use lax border controls to enter Greece first, then travel via Italy to richer nations in northern Europe where they hope to settle.

German authorities wanted to send the man back to Greece, where he spent four days on his journey, because that was his first EU landfall.

The EU policy of pushing people back to the first landfall was established after annual arrivals in Germany of people requesting political asylum ran at 100,000 per year in the 1990s, peaking at nearly 440,000 in 1992.

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