The family of four has lived in Kumberg, in Styria, for almost a year and locals say they are well integrated in the community. They were due to be deported from Austria on October 24th, and taken to Croatia, the first European country where they were registered after fleeing from Iraq.
A local organisation that helps refugees argued that the refugee shelters in Croatia are severely overcrowded and that the family is in need of psychiatric care after the Islamic State group tried to forcibly recruit the father to fight with them in Iraq. The family and their supporters appealed to the ECJ for help in the case.
The case first made headlines in September, when police came to the Iraqi family’s home to arrest them for deportation. However, the children – a boy and a girl aged nine and eight – ran away and hid. A police helicopter was used to search for the children. The Styrian Green party and Kumberg locals were very critical of the police’s behaviour, saying they had overreacted.
The family will be allowed to stay in Kumberg until at least November 15th, 2016. The ECJ said the family should not be deported until the authorities in Croatia can prove that they are able to provide the family with adequate housing and health care.