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The applicant, Iranian national, arrived in Germany in September 2018 and applied for asylum. The VIS check revealed that he had been granted a visa by Poland and arrived to Europe on that basis. Germany's request for the applicant's 'take back' under Dublin procedure was accepted by Poland in October 2018 whereupon a decision was issued rejecting the application for asylum as inadmissible as Germany was not responsible under the Dublin system. The applicant appealed that decision and requested interim protection, leading to the suspension of the transfer due to the appeal procedure with suspensive effect. In January 2019 the application for provisional legal protection was rejected as unfounded, and the suspensive effect had ceased to apply and the new deadline for the transfer to Poland was established for July 2019. As of January 2019 the applicant left the accommodation assigned to him in the central accommodation facility and his stay was no longer registered there. In result, the Federal Office assessed that the eighteen-month transfer period was applicable because of the risk of absconding under the Dublin Regulation, extending the transfer period until 7 July 2020.
In a pleading in April 2019 the applicant informed the court that he had been enjoying church asylum since end of January 2019 in a protestant parish and provided the address where he was. Further on in July he applied for the suspensive effect of his appeal stating that that responsibility for examining his asylum application had passed to Germany since the transfer period had expired and in particular, the transfer period was not allowed to be extended to up to 18 months because he did not represent a risk of absconding. The court rejected his application in September 2019.
In March 2020 the Polish Dublin office informed that Poland had decided to suspend all transfers to Poland from 16 March 2020 onwards whereupon the Federal Office suspended the execution of the transfer. In July 2020, the Federal Office sought clarifications from the court of the relevant legal issues given that Poland has resumed the transfer procedure since July 2020.
The Court found that the transfer period under the Dublin Regulation can be interrupted by an official suspension of the execution of the transfer order due to transfer obstacles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension decision is not abusive if the state responsible for carrying out the asylum procedure suspends all transfers to its territory until further notice. A decision on the extension due to the risk of absconding by the person concerned is stll effective if the Federal Office has justified the decision with the applicant's stay in church asylum and the knowledge of the national authorities that the applicant remains in church asylum at an unspecified location does not prevent an extension decision due to the risk of absonding.
The case is related to the case of Regional Administrative Court [Verwaltungsgerichte], Applicant (Iran) vs Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), 21/07/2020
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