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Updated December 28th, 2023 at 15:15 IST

25 Indian passengers who stayed back in France freed by a local judge, here's why

25 Indian passengers who stayed back in France, seeking asylums in France were freed by the court on Wednesday.

The Nicaragua-bound flight that was grounded in France.
The Nicaragua-bound flight that was grounded in France. | Image:AP
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Days after the French authorities grounded a plane carrying 303 Indian passengers over “human trafficking” allegations, reports are emerging that the 25 passengers who stayed behind seeking asylums in France were freed by the court on Wednesday. The 25 passengers were not part of the flight that carried 276 mostly Indian passengers and landed at Mumbai airport on Monday. According to the French news outlet, Le Monde, prosecutors mentioned that a local judge ordered their release on “formal grounds”.

The court also considered the fact that the head of the border police at France's main Charles De Gaulle airport "had not referred the case to him" within the timeframe prescribed by the court. "They are therefore free to do as they please, even if they are in an irregular situation on French territory," the Bobigny public prosecutor's office told the French news outlet. As per the reports, out of the 25 passengers who were now declared free by the court, five of them were taken into care of child welfare services because they were minors. It is important to note that the charge of human trafficking was dropped against two arrested by the authorities after it was established that the passenger boarded the plane of their own free will. 

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How do French asylum laws work? 

According to France's Office française de Protection des réfugiés et apatrides, a refugee with a valid passport arriving in France can commence the process of applying to the OFPRA for refugee status within three months of arriving in the country. If a refugee has no travel documents, he must within the shortest time possible request asylum from the police of the Prefecture in which he resides. When it comes to domestic laws and regulations, France is one of the earliest countries to give constitutional protection to the right of political asylum. According to the French constitution of 1793, "the French people provide asylum for foreigners banished from their country for the cause of freedom." Moreover, the Preamble to the Constitution of 1946, which was incorporated into the present Constitution of 1958, mentioned that “[a]nyone persecuted because of his activities in the cause of freedom has the right of asylum within the territories of the Republic.”

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Published December 28th, 2023 at 15:12 IST

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