The Court in Strasbourg Stopped Bulgaria from Returning an Iranian Citizen with a Death SentenceSociety | August 6, 2023, Sunday // 08:16| views
The European Court of Human Rights stopped the Bulgarian authorities from returning to Iran a man sentenced to death there. This happened after the Bulgarian lawyer Sofia Razboinikova asked the institution to impose temporary measures and the court granted the request.
The case is about Ali Reza Hasan Beygi Rizi, who arrived in Bulgaria at the end of 2021. He converted to Christianity in Switzerland in 2016. He worked as a teacher and began to preach to children and adults. Shortly after that, he fled through Turkey to Bulgaria. Here, the State Agency for Refugees refuses him protection, on the grounds that he is a migrant, not a refugee. The court confirms the refusal of two instances.
Shortly after the Supreme Administrative Court's final decision in May, Rizi's relatives informed him that he had been sentenced to death. The Iranian and his lawyer submitted a new application based on the new circumstances to the State Agency for Refugees, but they again refused, assuming that they could not credit the information about the death sentence because it was not presented in the original.
Rizy's lawyers are appealing the refusal before the Sofia City Administrative Court. The case is scheduled for November 13. Meanwhile, however, at the beginning of July, Rizi was detained in Busmantsi.
Due to the danger of him being returned to Iran, his defenders are preparing a request to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to impose the so-called interim measures.
This is done on the basis of Art. 39 of the Rules of Court. Interim measures are emergency measures which, according to the permanent practice of the ECHR, are applied exceptionally in cases where the applicant is exposed to a serious risk of suffering serious and irreparable harm in the absence of such measures.
According to the decision in Rizi's case, the court ruled that he should not be returned to Iran until two weeks after the conclusion of the proceedings on the appeal against his refusal before the Sofia City Administrative Court. The court must rule on whether there are grounds to grant protection to Rizi in view of the fact that he has been sentenced to death.
In the meantime, the defense of the Iranian is asking the Administrative Court in Sofia to order Rizi to remain in the country until the final ruling on the appeal. The judicial panel, presided over by Judge Plamen Gorelski, refused on the grounds that the repeated request for protection was only aimed at preventing Rizi from being sent back to Iran. The court finds no reason to grant the request. The same judicial council will have to rule after the meeting on November 13 and whether there is a reason for Rizi to receive protection in the country.
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