herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Afghan man found at side of road and beaten up in prison riot seeks asylum

Afghan refugee Wali Ullah Safi
Afghan refugee Wali Ullah Safi

An Afghan man has been granted bail after spending three weeks in prison for failing to produce documentation to gardai.

Wali Ullah Safi (21) appeared before Naas District Court, where he was granted bail on the condition that he found suitable housing by next Monday.

He was charged under the Immigration Act for failing to produce documentation proving his identity and was remanded in Cloverhill Prison in July.

Mr Safi was later assaulted during a prison riot on July 30.

After this incident, he was separated from the other prisoners to keep him safe.

The young man was originally discovered on the side of a road by gardai in Naas in early July, where he claimed to have fled Afghanistan.

How he arrived in the country was not raised in court.

A silent Mr Safi entered the courtroom clutching a copy of the Koran, accompanied by an interpreter.

Judge Patrick Clyne said that he would grant Mr Safi bail on the assumption that he would be housed under direct provision.

Mr Safi's solicitor Conal Boyce said that he was "now an asylum seeker who has effectively put himself into the system" last week.

He said that this entitled Mr Safi to "a certain status" by which he should be offered help from the State.

Mr Boyce said that he was working with various organisations who were trying to help house him and that on these conditions he should be granted bail.

Rights

Judge Clyne said that "everyone is entitled to bail" as it is a "constitutional right" and he noted that Mr Safi "doesn't need the grief" of being placed back in custody.

He said that he wanted to grant bail to Mr Safi on the assumption "that direct provision will kick in" and that he would "register with an arm of the State as soon as possible."

A garda inspector said he had no objection to the application for bail, on the condition that Mr Safi signs on at a garda station once a week. He was released on a bond of €250.

Mr Safi now has until next Monday to find housing and notify gardai within 24 hours.

From there he will be required to sign on at the nearest garda station once a week.

He will next appear before the court on September 7, where he is expected to have full documentation of his asylum status and identification.

"My view is that if he has ID - proof of his name and address - then that satisfies the requirements," Judge Clyne said.

The judge also suggested that Mr Safi should be given a mobile phone "with a local number" and added that this "should have GPS switched on".

Mr Safi is now understood to be residing with the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, which is attempting to find suitable accommodation.

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