Written Answers. - Asylum Seekers.

Liz O'Donnell


214 Ms O'Donnell asked the Minister for Justice if she will give details of the circumstances surrounding the imprisonment of three Russian persons over the Christmas period; if these persons sought asylum; the basis under which they were held in Mountjoy Prison; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1901/96]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the case of five persons, four of Georgian nationality and one of Azeri nationality who sought asylum here on 22 December 1995, having been refused leave to land in the State on their arrival from France. In line with international practice, it was decided that the persons in question should be returned to France to pursue their asylum claim there.

This matter is now before the courts and therefore issub judice. As such, I am precluded from making further detailed comment about it. I can say, however, that two of the persons in question were detained from 22 December to 24 December in accordance with the statutory provisions in force for dealing with persons who are refused leave to land in the State.
These two persons were released on 24 December, on humanitarian grounds.