Russian man sues State over assault, false imprisonment and forced deportation

Russian man sues State over assault, false imprisonment and forced deportation

Ivan Vostrikov alleges he was arrested in a Direct Provision in Dublin while awaiting his asylum claim to be processed. File photo.

A Russian man is suing the state over what he alleges was an unlawful arrest, assault, false imprisonment, and forced deportation to Germany.

Ivan Vostrikov, 36, had applied for refugee status in the State in 2013 after travelling here from the UK.

While Mr Vostrikov was living in Direct Provision in Dublin awaiting his asylum claim to be processed, officials from the Irish Reception and Integration Agency approached the German authorities stating they were responsible for the processing of his application, despite the previous claim already being closed by the German government.

According to court documents: At around 4.30am in the morning of the 24th September 2013, Garda Síochána "unlawfully" entered Balseskin Reception Centre and arrested Mr Vostrikov.

"As a result of his arrest, the Plaintiff lost all of his possessions, including his glasses and medication," the document states.

"An Garda Síochána proceeded to physically restrain, unlawfully detain and falsely imprison" the plaintiff.

He was taken to Cloverhill Prison and detained there for 23 days, where he says he shared various cells with other prisoners.

"I was very paranoid there," Mr Vostrikov said.

"It was my first experience in prison, I had only seen prison on TV and films.

"I had to go through prison life, sharing a toilet in the cell.

"It was a really shocking experience to me."

He says he spent two weeks sleeping on the floor of a cell due to overcrowding before he was "unlawfully transferred to Germany" on October 16.

"I was first on the plane with two immigrations officials, the other passengers got on and looked at me like I was a criminal," he said.

Vostrikov had to make his own way to an Immigration Camp in Chemnitz from Berlin, where he shared a room with 11 others.

"When I got to that camp, I slept on a mattress that was soaked with bloodstains, someone had just flipped it over," he added. The camp was known to be overcrowded and dangerous and riots between guards and the immigrant population were common.

Having undergone torture while in Russia, he had requested to see a psychologist while in the camp, which was denied.

The Refugee Appeals Tribunal later found that the state had been incorrect and had wrongly applied the regulations which saw Mr Vostrikov returned to Ireland in February 2015.

"Since returning to Ireland I go to different psychiatrists and psychologists as I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, I've been on antidepressants the last five years," he said.

"That first experience of prison changed me, I'm working on myself, I have support but I get a shaking feeling hearing sirens, I have nightmares and flashbacks, watching films about arrest or prison, I get anxious."

Mr Vostrikov's legal team allege that the state had failed to forward documentation which showed that his asylum claim in Germany had been closed to the relevant German authorities, and did not give him the opportunity to leave the State voluntarily in advance of his arrest and detention.

They also say the Irish state failed in establishing the criteria for determining the Member State responsible for the application for international protection and he "was not detained in a specialised detention facility and/or separately from ordinary prisoners" while in Cloverhill, contrary to regulations.

Mr Vostrikov is pursuing the Minister for Justice, The Garda Commissioner and the Chief International Protection Officer for damages he incurred, including injury and psychological harm.

"It’s been more than five years and nobody wants to take responsibility for what they did to me and my life," Mr Vostrikov said.

"If it happened to me it could happen to anyone.

"Ireland is a country where all this equality, freedom, justice you hear this all the time, but the events that happened to me represent something different.

"Russia doesn't care about human rights but Ireland says it does."

The man says the "one good thing" that came from the experience was meeting his wife, whom he met in an immigration centre, and is now an Irish citizen. They live together in Co.Kerry.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said: "The Department can't comment on individual cases, nor in relation to any cases before the Courts."

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