“Dozens of refugees” held at Lisbon airport “could be released”

Dozens of refugees stuck in Lisbon airport’s temporary holding centre (CIT) are likely to be released due to what has been described as a “scheme used by an international trafficking network” which takes advantage of the sloth of Portuguese justice.

Explains tabloid Correio da Manhã, lawyers have become wise to mechanisms that require the State to free asylum seekers if the country where they have arrived takes more than two months to deal with their requests.

In 2014, says the paper, a Portuguese lawyer was jailed for taking part in such a ruse in a situation that involved African women who arrived at Lisbon airport without the correct papers.

The women claimed asylum and were later freed due to the time it took to try and thoroughly check their stories.

“In the last few weeks” Lisbon airport has seen “dozens of African women” arriving in similar circumstances: carrying false papers and then filling out paperwork requesting political asylum.

The women’s cases are all being dealt with by three lawyers, says CM – while the immigrants “await the outcome in CIT”.

The paper adds that there are other issues that make the womens’ release even more likely: CIT currently has 90 people awaiting the outcome of their cases “when the maximum capacity is 60”.

A comment from borders control agency SEF did not arrive in time to be added to CM’s story – nor is it clear from the text whether the women will be repatriated, or simply allowed to leave CIT and carry on their intended journey into Europe.

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