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Hungary: EU court gives back judges’ power in asylum cases

July 29, 2019

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The European Court of Justice has ruled that judges may grant international protection to refugees if an administrative body has overruled their decision without establishing new elements in the case.

Monday’s ruling stems from the asylum application in Hungary of Russian businessman and activist Alexei Torubarov. While a Hungarian court found he qualified for asylum, Hungary’s immigration office repeatedly rejected his application. In Russia, Torubarov is suspected of fraud, while he says he is being persecuted.

Hungarian courts lost their right to overrule immigration authorities on asylum applications in 2015, a change spurred by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s harsh anti-immigration policies.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a rights group assisting Torubarov’s asylum application, said Monday’s ruling set an EU-wide precedent and was a victory also for rule of law in Hungary.

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