If you are in prison or being held by the police in detention, you can apply for asylum at the prison / detention centre / police station where you are being held. Detention and imprisonment of asylum-seekers is not permitted for the sole reason of being an asylum-seeker.
Under Cypriot law, the detention of asylum-seekers is exceptionally allowed by the law in certain cases only. Detention of asylum-seekers may only be ordered after individual assessment, and only if alternatives to detention have been exhausted. These alternatives are:
- Regular reporting to the authorities
- Release on bail / deposit of a financial guarantee
- Obligation to stay in assigned centre or place of accommodation with regular checks from the authorities
- Supervision arrangements
The Republic of Cyprus Refugee law provides that an asylum-seeker may be detained only:
(a) in order to determine or verify his or her identity or nationality;
(b) in order to gather information about the application which could not be obtained if the applicant were not detained, in particular when there is a risk of the applicant absconding
(c) in order to decide on the asylum-seeker’s right to enter the territory;
(d) in order to assess the validity of the claim being made in the application in case the asylum-seeker has already received a deportation order before applying for asylum, and that the application has not been made for international protection merely in order to delay or frustrate the enforcement of the return decision;
(e) when protection of national security or public order so requires;
(f) in case there is a decision under the Dublin Procedure to be transferred to another EU Member State, and there is a significant risk that the asylum-seeker will not comply with the procedure.
NOTE: Detention of asylum-seekers under 18 years of age is prohibited under Cypriot law.
If the Police Arrests or detains you:
- They must explain to you why you have been arrested and detained at the latest when you are taken to the police station. This information must be provided in a language you understand, and if necessary through an interpreter.
- You have the right to communicate with your lawyer, a relative, or any other person to inform them of your arrest and detention. The police must provide you with the means to do this.
- The police must inform you that you have the right to contact a lawyer, UNHCR or any non-governmental or human rights organisation. You must be given a list of lawyers.
- The Police must bring you before a Court within 24 hours from your arrest, in case you are not arrested and detained by a Deportation Order.
- You must be given a leaflet in a language that you understand explaining your rights as a person in detention. You have the right to:
- daily visits from a relative or friend for one hour
- visits from your lawyer at any time of the day
- receive respectable living conditions and treatment
- medical care
If you are a refugee or an asylum-seeker in detention and you are in need of assistance, you can contact UNHCR Cyprus.