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For the First Time, a “Pushback” Victim Sues
Frontex for Half a Million Euro

Court of Justice of the European Union, March 2022

In another ground-breaking legal action, a first in a potential avalanche of damages lawsuits, front-LEX filed a case against the European Border and Coast Guard Agency for a 17-hour long ‘pushback operation’ in the Aegean Sea. The case was filed on behalf of a Syrian asylum seeker Alaa Hamoudi.   

Alaa Hamoudi filed the damages claim to the EU Court of Justice after he was kidnapped from a Greek island, transferred to an unworthy raft, abandoned at sea for 17 hours, and collectively expelled to Turkey. After Turkey detained and tried to deport him to Syria, he’s now living clandestinely in dire conditions.

“It was a horrible, hard time,” says A.H. in a video interview. “It’s unforgettable. They threw us onto a boat as if we had committed a crime. I lost all my hope. All my dreams and ambitions disappeared because of the pushback.”

Alaa is one of 43,000 human beings who were abducted by the *JOINT* Operation of Greece and Frontex. These 43,000 collective expulsions are the direct consequence of a policy with different names (‘new tactics’, ‘preventive measures’, ‘special measures’ of ‘early detection’ and ‘prevention of entry’) and one purpose: to prevent entry of asylum seekers at ALL costs. 

This incident has been first exposed by a joint investigation of Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD & Libération. Frontex’s Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri lied about it to the EU Parliament. The OLAF report investigated this incident too, and corroborated the factual and legal arguments of Alaa’s case. front-LEX will hold the Agency and its Director to account.  


30 March 2024 - front-LEX files Appeal in the Case Hamoudi v. Frontex!

*** Responding to front-LEX’s damages lawsuit, Frontex argued that Alaa Hamoudi’s nose in the visual evidence he provided is dissimilar to how his nose appears in his passport. The Agency refused to hand over to the Court the EU’s own Anti-Fraud Agency (OLAF) report which confirms Hamoudi’s allegations in connection with the incident. ***

In its judgement on Dec 13, 2023, the Court of First Instance adopted Frontex’s position, finding the videos, photos and other forensic evidence submitted to substantiate Hamoudi’s presence in this ‘pushback’ (sourced from a joined forensic investigation including Lighthouse Reports and Bellingcat investigative journalists) to be insufficient to prove that he was one of its victims. Somehow unable to determine 'his or her' features, the General Court dismissed the Action – applying an unattainable and incorrect standard of proof. 

This judgement forms part of a concerning string of cases in which the CJEU has simply avoided assessing the joint responsibility of Frontex in well-documented ‘pushback’ operations. Given the vast evidence produced in this case, the Court’s judgement leaves open the disturbing question of how asylum seekers can ever prove and seek redress for the fundamental rights violations committed by Frontex at sea.


Now, front-LEX appeals this ruling before the Court of Justice – refugees should have their day in court and enjoy the standard of proof everyone else enjoys. The EU’s “complete system of remedies” should provide legal protection and effective remedy not in theory but in practice!


Press Release I

English – German – French

CJEU Case Submission (10/03/2022)

Press Release II


Filing of the Appeal (30/03/2024)

Case 1_1.jpg
Case 1_2.jpg

10/04/2024 RTVE Hamoudi contra Frontex: el dilema de la Justicia europea y el problema de demostrar las devoluciones en caliente.

28/03/2024 EU Observer Lawyer suing Frontex takes aim at 'antagonistic' judges

09/09/2022 efsyn Δημοσίευμα-κόλαφος του Guardian εκθέτει κυβέρνηση ΝΔ και Frontex για τις επαναπροωθήσεις

01/09/2022 Daily Sabah Greek activist gets death threats for speaking out against pushbacks

01/09/2022 CNN Portugal “Deixaram-nos num bote no meio do mar”. Refugiado processa Frontex após Grécia ter “empurrado” migrantes de volta para o Mediterrâneo

31/08/2022 tvxs Σύρος πρόσφυγας μήνυσε την Frontex για επαναπροώθησή του από τη Σάμο

31/08/2022 The Guardian ‘I was close to death’: Syrian man tells how Greek officials pushed refugees back out to sea

17/03/2022 Al Jazeera Syrian asylum seeker sues EU border agency

17/03/2022 t-online Syrer fordert halbe Million Euro von Grenzschützern

17/03/2022 El Financiero Migrante sirio rechazado enjuicia a guardia fronteriza de la UE

17/03/2022 GZH Mundo Migrante sírio rejeitado processa guarda de fronteira da UE

17/03/2022 get to text Refoulement of migrants: a Syrian claims compensation from Frontex

17/03/2022 La Nación Migrante sirio rechazado enjuicia a guardia fronteriza de la UE

17/03/2022 The World News رفض مهاجر سوري مقاضاة حرس حدود الاتحاد الأوروبي

17/03/2022 infobae シリア移民はEU国境警備隊の起訴を拒否した

17/03/2022 infobae 시리아 이민자는 EU 국경 수비대 기소를 거부했습니다.

17/03/2022 Cyprus Digest Syrian refugee sues Frontex for complicity in deportation to Turkey

17/03/2022 Reel Novelles Plainte déposée – Un Syrien réclame un demi-million d’euros aux gardes-frontières

17/03/2022 Politis Σύριος πρόσφυγας μήνυσε τον Frontex για συνενοχή σε επαναπροώθησή του στην Τουρκία

18/03/2022 Middle East Monitor Syrian refugee sues EU border agency for abandoning him at sea

18/03/2022 Monitor do Oriente Médio Refugiado sírio processa agência de fronteira da UE por abandoná-lo no mar

18/03/2022 taz Alaa Hamoudi verklagt Frontex

18/03/2022 Gulf Times Syrian asylum-seeker sues EU border agency

18/03/2022 deutsche welle Συγκαλύπτει επαναπροωθήσεις η Frontex

18/03/2022 Daily Sabah Syrian migrant sues Frontex over pushback from Greece to Turkey

18/03/2022 The National Syrian refugee sues EU border agency Frontex

18/03/2022 Altreconomia Gli “scatti” che inchiodano Frontex: l’Agenzia sapeva dei respingimenti illegali nell’Egeo

18/03/2022 L´Indipendente Un’indagine proverebbe la complicità di Frontex nei respingimenti illegali dei migranti

18/03/2022 hatayhaberleri Suriyeli göçmen, Yunanistan’dan Türkiye’ye yapılan geri itme nedeniyle Frontex’e dava açtı

18/03/2022 Valeurs Actuelles Un migrant syrien refoulé réclame 500 000 euros à Frontex

18/03/2022 The News International Syrian was illegally pushed back into Turkey by Greek authorities: Asylum-seeker sues EU border agency

18/03/2022 Enabbaladi طالب لجوء سوري يقاضي وكالة حدودية تابعة للاتحاد الأوروبي

18/03/2022 tvxs Γερμανικός Τύπος: Συγκαλύπτει επαναπροωθήσεις η Frontex

18/03/2022 De Kanttekening Syriër klaagt Europese grenswacht Frontex aan voor vermeende pushback

19/03/2022 Kosmodromio Πρώτη φορά Σύρος αιτών άσυλο σέρνει στο Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο τη Frontex

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