Russian man who sought asylum sues State for imprisoning him alongside axe murderer

Ivan Vostrikov takes case after he was detained and improperly deported to Germany

 Cloverhill Prison, where Ivan Vostrikov was imprisoned. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Cloverhill Prison, where Ivan Vostrikov was imprisoned. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A Russian man who sought asylum in Ireland is suing the State for imprisoning him for almost a month and allegedly making him share a cell with an axe murderer before improperly deporting him.

Ivan Vostrikov (33) arrived in Ireland in 2013 and applied for refugee status in the State on the basis of his political activities and that he would be regarded as a deserter from the Russian army if he returned home. He also alleged he suffered torture in Russia. He had already applied for asylum in Germany, the UK and Poland before arriving in Ireland.

According to court documents, Mr Vostrikov alleged that in the early hours of September 24th, 2013, gardaí entered the Balseskin Reception Centre in Dublin where he was staying and “unlawfully arrested him”.

“The said members of An Garda Síochána proceeded to physically restrain, unlawfully detain and falsely imprison the plaintiff,” the statement of claims says.

Mr Vostrikov was then detained in Cloverhill remand prison in Dublin for 23 days. While there, he alleges he had to share a cell with various prisoners, including two men charged with murder.

One of them, Marius Gaizutis, was later convicted of murdering another man with an axe on a beach in Co Meath in 2013.

Due to overcrowding, Mr Vostrikov sometimes had to share a cell with three others and sleep on a mattress on the floor.

“The said detention constituted false imprisonment,” the statement says.

On October 16th, 2013, he was deported to Germany, as that was the place where he made his initial asylum claim, a claim which, according to the Irish authorities, was still open.

Under the EU’s Dublin regulations, asylum seekers must seek asylum in the country they first arrive in and must remain there until the claim is decided.

Chemnitz camp

Mr Vostrikov alleges that after leaving Ireland he arrived in Berlin with no possessions and had to make his way to an immigration camp in Chemnitz. “The plaintiff was forced to share a room with 11 others in the Chemnitz camp. There was blood on the walls of his room, and assaults, violence and harassment were widespread in the camp.”

Nine days later he was ordered by the German authorities to leave the country, prompting him to travel to Belgium.

In the meantime the Refugee Appeals Tribunal here considered his case and ruled he should never have been deported to Germany.

Mr Vostrikov was given permission to return to Ireland and returned here after a year in Belgium.

He alleges he suffered further distress on his return when the authorities at first refused to give him a temporary residence permit. Mr Vostrikov, who lives in Co Kerry, has since been granted leave to remain.

He is suing the Garda, the Attorney General, the Minister for Justice and the Refugee Applications Commissioner on several grounds, including alleged false imprisonment and psychological distress.

According to court records, the case, which was first lodged in 2016, has been postponed several times due to delays by the State in furnishing documents. It is expected to appear before the High Court again later this year.