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Lithuania / Supreme Administrative Court / A-1823-822/2015

A. S. v The Border Guard Service

Policy area:
Asylum and migration
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

The applicant was an alien who was detained for his illegal entry and stay in the territory of Lithuania (he came to Lithuania from Latvia with no identity or travel documents). Initially he was detained by the District Court of Lazdijai Region on the basis of Article 113 (1) (2) (illegal entry and stay in the territory of Lithuania). Later the applicant lodged the application for asylum to the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania. The Migration Department decided to examine his asylum application in substance and granted him temporary territorial protection. After such decision, the applicant applied to the District Court of Švenčionys Region  for a review of his detention. The court rejected his application and argued that, since the applicant submitted his asylum application only after a certain period of time, and after freely travelling in other EU Member States in which he did not submit an asylum application, he abused the asylum procedure in order to avoid his return to the country of origin and this fact justified his further detention on the basis of other grounds of detention (Article 113 (2) of the law).

Outcome of the case: 

During the appeal, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania annulled the decision of the lower court and ordered release of the applicant from detention. With regards to the argument concerning abuse of the asylum procedure, the Supreme Administrative Court pointed to the fact that the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania  granted the applicant temporary territorial protection. The claim by the Border Guard Service that due to the fact that the identity of the applicant was not established there were sufficient grounds for his further detention was not accepted by the Supreme Administrative Court. The Court in fact argued that no active steps had been taken by state institutions to establish the true identity of the asylum seeker and therefore this ground for detention may not be used for indefinite period of time for justification of the right to liberty.