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Erjavec
According to Erjavec, the government believes that Shami could apply for official status in Croatia, which would allow him to return to Slovenia. Photo: Bobo

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Erjavec: the quickest solution would be for Shami to legalize his status in Croatia

20. November 2017 ob 19:49
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec is convinced that by applying Article 51 of the Aliens Act, Slovenia would put Shami in a more problematic legal position, since his status as an alien would be valid for only five years and would not allow him to reunite with his family.

If we genuinely wanted Shami to get his status legalized, the best solution would be for him to be declared a refugee, says Foreign Minister and DeSUS President Karl Erjavec. He added that in order to fulfill the criteria of Article 51 of the Aliens Act, the applicant must be able to support himself financially.

According to Erjavec, the government believes that Shami could apply for official status in Croatia, which would allow him to return to Slovenia. The Foreign Minister says that the Syrian has two options: either to obtain the status of a refugee, which would enable him to receive a passport based on international conventions, or to be recognized as a resident alien.

Erjavec says he doesn’t understand why Shami doesn’t want to legalize his status based on the court’s decision and why “there is so much pressure for him to find a solution based on Article 51 of the Aliens Act, when there is a much more elegant solution available for him in Zagreb.”

Erjavec denies threatening to leave the coalition
Erjavec regrets that politicians have become involved in the Ahmad Shami case, but he denied threatening to leave the coalition. He warned that applying Article 51 of the Aliens Act in Shami’s case could cause the government to collapse, since that would represent an abuse of the law and an illegal decision proposed by Prime Minister Miro Cerar.

Erjavec is convinced that the government would have a difficult time convincing legal experts if it decided to find a solution for the Syrian refugee in Article 51 of the Aliens Act. At a press conference earlier today, he pointed out that the article is intended for exceptional individuals who can apply their knowledge or skills in Slovenia’s national interest.

Shami remains hospitalized
Ahmad Shami’s health has deteriorated in the wake of bureaucratic entanglements and the uncertainty about his possible deportation to Croatia. He was admitted to the Psychiatric Clinic and then transferred on Sunday to the Neurological Clinic of Ljubljana’s University Medical Center. The activist and Shami’s defender Miha Blažič has no new information about the Syrian’s condition, since he hasn’t been in touch with Shami since Sunday afternoon.

Blažič is also unable to say how Shami, who faces deportation to Croatia, will proceed to get his status legalized. He feels that the most likely outcome is for Shami to reapply for asylum, but the Syrian could only do that once his health stabilizes. No one can reapply on Shami’s behalf, Blažič told the Slovenian Press Agency.

No new details are known about the deportation process. Given Shami’s medical condition, Blažič is remaining optimistic and doubts that the Ministry of the Interior would attempt any “sudden moves.”

Al. Ma.; T. H.; translated by J. B.

B. R.