The European Court of Human Rights on Friday condemned Belgium and Greece for the way they treated an Afghan refugee, raising questions about current European legislation for asylum seekers.
After an Afghan individual was deported back to Greece in June 2009, the first country where he had entered the European Union, the man was exposed to inhumane and degrading treatment, the legal branch of the Council of Europe said.
The court said the man's living conditions in Athens had been unsuitable and despite the EU's "Dublin Rules", which allow countries to return asylum seekers to their original country of entry, it said Belgium should have reconsidered its action.
"The deficiencies of the asylum procedure in Greece should have been known to Belgian authorities," the Strasbourg-based court said.
The two countries were criticised for not having provided an "effective solution" for the asylum seeker, who had said his life was threatened after having served as an interpreter for Western forces in Afghanistan.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged the EU in 2008 to stop returning asylum seekers to Greece.
That same year, the European Commission proposed an overhaul of these rules aimed primarily at assisting Greece and Malta, which have seen large numbers of refugees arrive from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The new rules are before the European Council, having been approved by the European parliament.
There was no immediate comment from Belgian and Greek authorities.