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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will rule on Friday on an application for leave to appeal against an order preventing news media from attending Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir's appeal for asylum.
Krejcir's application for asylum was refused in October 2008. He later appealed to the Refugee Appeal Board.
The Mail and Guardian Media Limited and others made a request to the RAB to allow journalists to be present during the appeal hearing and to report on proceedings. The request was turned down.
The applicants launched a review application in the High Court in Pretoria to have the RAB's decision set aside.
They also sought to interdict the RAB from continuing with the appeal and for section 21(5) of the Refugees Act to be declared unconstitutional.
They argued that this was because it prevented members of the public or the media from attending and reporting on asylum applications or appeals.
The court held that the section was a limitation on the freedom of the press. However, the blanket ban on access by the public was constitutionally justifiable. The application was dismissed.
The applicants argued in the Constitutional Court that the section of act was a limitation on the right to freedom of expression and that information concerning Krejcir was in the public domain and therefore not confidential.
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) was admitted as a friend of the court in the matter.