A court in Milan ruled in favor of a Tunisian asylum seeker this week. He should have been allowed to keep his cell phone at a repatriation center, the judges found.
The Milan court ruled on Monday (March 15) that the rights of a Tunisian asylum seeker had been violated at a Center for Repatriation (CPR) because he had not been allowed to keep his cell phone on him.
The Association of Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI) published a press release on the ruling, stressing that "limiting the freedom of communication of detainees ... has no legal grounds in our system and instead goes against constitutional and international legislation."
Couldn't contact asylum lawyer
ASGI said that a cell phone ban limits the ability of residents at CPRs to communicate with the outside world, which could be seen as a violation of their right to a defense in their asylum case.
The association said that this was the case for the Tunisian national staying at a CPR in Milan. The court reportedly found that the asylum seeker had not been allowed to communicate with his trusted defense attorney before a hearing regarding his detention, which caused his lawyer to miss the appointment.
Authorities ordered to allow cellphone
The judges reportedly ordered the prefecture, Milan's police headquarters and the agency managing the center to allow the man to keep and use his cell phone at the center.
ASGI said that the ruling was very significant, because the court found that the public phones present inside the center can't guarantee the freedom to communicate for detainees, because they need access to their personal contacts.
"The principles outlined by the Milan court represent a step forward in the safeguard of the rights of detained foreigners", the association said.