(CN) – Switzerland violated the rights of a Turkish man whom it deported and banned for 10 years after the nation’s courts convicted him of several crimes, Europe’s top human rights court ruled.
Identified only by his surname Emre, the court says Switzerland deported him in 2003 when he was 23 years old.
In the years leading up to his removal, Emre, who had moved with his family to Switzerland in 1986, was convicted of various crimes in Switzerland, including assault, theft and rioting. The country banned his return for an indefinite time period.
When the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2008 that Switzerland could not impose an indefinite ban on Emre’s return, Switzerland set the ban to 10 years.
Emre married a German woman and sought to return to Switzerland from Stuttgart, Germany, in 2009.
The Strasbourg-based human rights court said the Swiss courts instituted the ban without considering factors that weighed in Emre’s favor, such as the fact that he committed many of the offenses while he was still a minor and had since changed his behavior.
In a statement, the court said that 10 years is a “considerable period in an individual’s life” and that such a ban is not “necessary in a democratic society.”
Switzerland should have immediately lifted the ban after its first ruling, according to the human rights court, which ordered the country to pay Emre around $7,000 in damages.
Two judges of the seven-judge chamber issued a dissenting opinion to the ruling, which has yet to be finalized.
Immigration judges in the United States routinely ban deported immigrants from return, running from a period of several months to forever.