In Brief

Slovenian PM facing impeachment for defending refugee

Miro Cerar is accused of interfering in judicial decision over deportation

Slovenia’s Prime Minister, Miro Cerar, is facing impeachment after he was accused of seeking to interfere with the judiciary after voicing support for a Syrian asylum seeker.

 The future of Ahmad Shamieh, a 60-year-old man who arrived in Slovenia in 2015, where he learned the language and became an example of successful refugee integration, “has become a key dividing line in the country’s politics”, says The Guardian.

Shamieh faces deportation after losing his request for asylum on the grounds he should make his application in Croatia, his first port of call in the EU after leaving Syria.

However, he has become a test case in a country that has received tens of thousands of refugees since the crisis began three years ago.

When pushed for his opinion, Cerar, one of the few liberal leaders in central Europe, said he hoped to find a way to grant Shamieh residence on the grounds of his integration into Slovenian society.

His remarks were seized upon by rightwingers in the Slovenian parliament who claimed the Prime Minister, a former constitutional lawyer, had sought to interfere in the affairs of the independent judiciary.

Cerar’s supporters say the accusation is an attempt to destabilise the government ahead of elections next year and are confident the Prime Minister has enough support in parliament to survive an impeachment vote.

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