A Sri Lankan man arrived in Prague, the Capital of Czech Republic, last year to seek asylum had been sentenced for abusing someone else's passport, Daily Hospodarske Noviny (HN) had reported on Monday.
According to a news article published on the Prague Daily Monitor, the 28-year-old Sri Lankan is staying in the Prague-Pankrac prison after he was arrested by the Czech police.
"He was punished for having arrived using a passport of another man, an Indian. He also used a forged Schengen entry stamp. However, from the beginning he has made it clear that he is a refugee and wants to apply for asylum," the suspect's lawyer Eva Hola was quoted as saying.
According to lawyers, it is extremely tough to imprison a man for using another person's passport and having a single faked stamp, mainly if he is a refugee, HN writes.
"We have enough evidence to trust him...He repeatedly presents details that cannot be known to anyone except those who experienced such situations. Moreover, his testimony corresponds to the testimonies of other people coming from Sri Lanka," said Hola.
The Sri Lankan had applied for Czech asylum immediately after arriving at the Prague airport, but the police ignored his request and no one dealt with his life story. "Finally he could apply for asylum from prison in March, with our assistance," Hola said.
The judge, in her verdict, said the accused had forged his documents with a clear intention to reach France. "In this context, his assertion about his alleged persecution looks very untrustworthy. If he really had faced persecution, he would have presented his genuine identity at the Czech customs checks," the judge said.
However, Hana Frankova, lawyer from the Czech Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU), said the suspect's story is quite trustworthy.