Children under the age of 14 cannot be detained. Therefore, families with young children are confined only for 24 hours prior to forced return. In general, children over the age of 14 should not be detained and alternatives to detention should apply for minors over the age of 14.1
In 2014, the Federal Administrative Court found the detention order for an asylum seeker from Afghanistan who claimed to be 16 years old to be unlawful. The decision of the BFA was based on the improper opinion of the medical officer according to which he was between 18 and 22 years of age and therefore not treated as a child.2
In the case of a minor who was stopped by police and taken to the Zinnergasse centre, the age examinations carried out by the public medical officer resulted in setting an age of 18 years with a fluctuation range of 2 years, without a multifactor medical age assessment. The minor was transferred to the detention centre, applied for asylum and authorised Diakonie for his legal representation. However, the complaint against detention was dismissed in August 2016, arguing that he could not give power of attorney as a minor.3 Since the relevant interrogation of the police, in which deportation (Schubhaft) was ordered before his application for asylum was submitted, his legal representative for all further proceedings before the BFA and the Federal Administrative Court were the youth welfare agencies in whose district the minor is staying is competent. However, the latter did not wish to join the complaint lodged by Diakonie.