Syrian refugee becomes centre of political controversy
Ljubljana, 5 December - Ahmad Shamieh, a Syrian asylum seeker facing deportation to Croatia after exhausting his appeal options despite becoming integrated in Slovenia in the process, found himself at the centre of a political storm in November after Prime Minister Miro Cerar attempted to intervene on his behalf. Prompted into action by MPs from the coalition and the opposition Left, Cerar sought for the government to grant Shamieh temporary residence by invoking an aliens act article enabling such a move when considered in the interest of the state. However, no consensus was reached and the proposal was slammed by Interior Minister Vesna Györkös Žnidar and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, who said that invoking the aliens act in this case would lead to the government's collapse. Even before the government had its say on the matter, the opposition Democrats (SDS) tabled a motion to impeach Cerar, although with little chance of success. In the meantime, Shamieh was admitted to hospital, while his deportation remains pending. In another case that caught media attention, a Syrian-Egyptian couple were sent back to Croatia in March along with their son who was born Slovenia. In this case too the EU Court of Justice backed Slovenia's position that their asylum claim should be handled by Croatia as their first port of call in the EU.