Ambiguities in the EU legislation regarding the status of refugees lead to abuses that undermine the fundamental principles of European democracy, as illustrated by the 1951 Geneva Convention. The case of the Romanian refugee Gregorian Bivolaru exposes such dangerous flaws.
Gregorian Bivolaru, Romanian citizen, was granted political asylum in Sweden in January 2006, as the Swedish Supreme Court considered that the refugee “will not receive a fair trial and his life will be endangered in Romania due to his religious and political beliefs”.
In February 2016 Gregorian Bivolaru was arrested in France, following a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by Romanian authorities in June 2013. The EAW is a direct continuation of the persecutions for which he was granted asylum.
As the framework of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) does not consider the possibility of political asylum between the EU member states, this flaw in the EAW framework seems to make way for violations of fundamental rights.
On the 8th June 2016 Cour D’Appel de Paris decided to hand Mr. Bivolaru over to continued persecution in Romania, disregarding the refugee’s protection according to the Geneva Convention of 1951.
The Swedish position presented to the Cour d’Appel de Paris leaves no room for interpretation: Sweden considers that the status of political refugee of Mr Gregorian Bivolaru is and remains justified. Sweden stands up for the refugee’s asylum and does not consider revoking the protection from Romanian persecutions, even if Romania is now part of EU.
There was never any reason for Mr. Bivolaru to be imprisoned. Still, it seems that France gives more credibility to Romania than Sweden. The French chief of police publicly expresses biased opinions on the case; the prosecutor asking questions without checking the information; not making preparation prior to arrest; the pressure upon Mr. Bivolaru in the prison and the way the French media is unilaterally presenting the case all add up to continuing the same persecution that the refugee has suffered in his home country since the communist regime.
Dealing with the case in such way disregards also the Swedish credibility on an unequivocal decision that resulted from a thorough investigation.
The refugee has now been in prison for three and a half months in France, with daily contacts with dangerous criminals, and by the decision given today he will remain in prison during the appeal phase.
- The French decision breaches the principle of non-refoulment, the very basis of asylum as such.
- Mr Gregorian Bivolaru is a political refugee in Sweden decided by 5 judges in the Swedish Supreme Court according to article 1 from the 1951 Geneva Convention. This status must be respected by all states that signed the Geneva Convention, including Romania and France.
- The European Arrest Warrant is issued on the same case that was raised and tried by the Swedish Supreme Court. Europol is obliged to accept the given asylum.
- The European Arrest Warrant issued by Romania contains misinformation, in order to give it priority by the Europol. This is a serious and deliberate abuse making the arrest warrant null and void and showing the political aspect of the persecution.
The refugee was arrested after his name wrongly appeared on Europol's ”Most Wanted Fugitives" list. Mr. Bivolaru is not a fugitive, but a refugee with permanent residency in Sweden, and putting his name on the list is a violation in itself.
We strongly hope that in the appeal phase, French authorities will carefully consider the rights of the refugee and the international agreements signed.