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DJAVED NOURI Who Set Himself On Fire

Georgi TOSHEV, attorney

D

javed Nouri is a citizen of Afghanistan, whose application procedure for protection under the special rules of the Asylum and Refugees Act has come to an end. Nouri is an example of a foreigner who has successfully integrated into the Bulgarian society. In the short time that he has spent in Bulgaria, and while his case was being processed by the State Refugee Agency with the Council of Ministers, he actively studied Bulgarian at the Agency’s integration center. He thus managed to attain a working knowledge of Bulgarian surprisingly quickly. This gave him the ability to assist his fellow countrymen seeking asylum in Bulgaria, translating for them and taking them to the appropriate institutions. Thanks to his personal qualities, he is able to befriend people and quickly win their respect. He is not afraid to speak his mind, and he has often spoken in defense of other asylum-seekers. Djaved Nouri is an exceptionally artistic individual. He sings, paints, and is a self-taught promoter of authentic Afghan culture in Bulgaria. He has also appeared on a number of television shows, as well as at many official events organized by the refugee community in Bulgaria. Despite all of the facts mentioned above, on 6 December 2005, Order No. 3-512 was issued against Djaved Nouri by the Interior Ministry’s National Security Service, ordering the compulsory administrative measure of “expulsion” in accordance with Art. 10, Para. 1.1 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act (FRBA). That order was appealed by a lawyer from the BHC’s Refugees and Migrants Legal Protection Program. In the order cited, the proper authorities did not indicate the specific grounds for imposing the compulsory administrative measure of “expulsion” with regard to Mr. Nouri. As grounds for issuing the order, the administrative authority perfunctorily cited Art. 42 of the FRBA, without specifying which particular provision was applicable in the present case: under the first one, Nouri’s presence in

> racist and xenophobic attitudes in this country, and 3

“Attack” and Siderov have found a language for their public expression. To dissociate the “protest” from the way of speaking and thinking is simply futile; they are interwoven. 3 To those who would say that it is inaccurate to call the hatred towards Turks, Roma, and Jews “xenophobia,” because they are not foreigners, I would reply that the attitude of a significant part of the population towards them resembles the attitude to undesirable foreigners, and this justifies the use of the term. See “The Data Show: Our Society is Ill With Racism,” Emil Cohen,“Obektiv” magazine, Issue 122.

the country would pose a serious threat to national security, while in the second, it would pose a threat to public order. This means that the order’s lack of identification of a specific legal provision prescribing the measure, renders the action being appealed UNLAWFUL, and leads to a serious infringement of Djaved Nouri’s right to legal defense. Thus, in order to enforce the ordered compulsory administrative measure, Djaved Nouri was held in compulsory detention in the HTAA (Home for Temporary Accommodation of Adults) for a period of three months, and subsequently in the SHTAF (Special Home for Temporary Accommodation of Foreigners), where he has already spent 11 (eleven) months without interruption. Throughout this time, his right to freedom of movement has been restricted, while at the same time the competent authorities, represented by the Interior Ministry’s Migration Directorate, General Police Directorate and National Police Service, have not taken any steps towards his deportation from the country. In accordance with the provisions of the law, the measure of “compulsory detention” is an exception to the general rule, the argument of Art. 44, Para. 6 of the FRBA. In this sense, the Director of the Migration Directorate should have presented his reasoning in detail, in order to justify the preferability of taking that special measure instead of the general one; namely, that of “compulsory detention” rather than “police probation/supervision”. Despite the involvement of the BHC Refugee Office, Djaved Nouri continues to be held in the SHTAF. Administrative proceedings have been initiated in response to the complaints filed with the court, and the scheduling of court hearings is being expected. The appropriate officials should provide the Bulgarian court with an answer as to how a person who was seeking asylum in our country has become “a threat to national security” and by which of his actions he has managed to become “a threat to public order”; meanwhile, for Djaved Nouri and the other people in his situation, remains the hope that the Bulgarian court will judge impartially.„ Second, the political class has done next to nothing to explain, with all the authority and power not only of common morality, but also of the state, that racism is categorically unacceptable in a society that sees itself as democratic. Most people would be shocked, and would reconsider their behavior, if our government institutions were to forcefully - but not forcibly - call a halt to racist ways of thinking and speaking. Instead of engaging in banal attempts to disgrace Siderov, the government and politicians should be clearly, repeatedly, and consistently convincing the public that there is no place in our society for outright racism and xenophobia.„ OBEKTIV 11


Djaved Nouri, Who Set Himself On Fire