More Asylum Seeker Woes - The Reykjavik Grapevine

More Asylum Seeker Woes

More Asylum Seeker Woes

Published June 3, 2011

Last issue we reported that Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kavyanpoor had walked into the Red Cross building and threatened to set himself on fire if his case—in limbo for seven years—was not resolved. Unfortunately, there are now more asylum seeker woes to report.
After the Directorate of Immigration refused to grant him political asylum in Iceland, Palestinian asylum seeker Mousa Sharif Al Jaradat went on a five-day hunger strike, and then slit his wrist in a suicide to attempt.
When Mousa called the Grapevine office on May 24, he told us that he fled Norway four months ago, after receiving death threats from the Mossad. He began a hunger strike that day, after learning that authorities were going to send him back to Norway. Days later he tried to take his life.
In an interview with local newspaper DV, Mousa said he lost his right eye in a bombing by the Israeli Defense Forces when he was fourteen years old. Backing his claims, Mousa had documentation from the Saint John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.
“A signed letter by ophthalmologist Humam Rishmawl stated that Mousa was repeatedly prevented from getting hospital treatment due to being listed as an army rebel”, DV also reported. “In the doctor’s letter it was requested that Mousa be allowed to leave so that he could receive proper treatment”.
Political asylum—the kind that Mousa and Mehdi are after—has been granted sparingly in Iceland. Until 2008, only one such case can be found on record. Furthermore, as Paul Nikolov reported on www.grapevine.is: “According to the latest statistics from the Red Cross, most asylum seekers in Iceland come from Muslim countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. However, between 2006 and 2009, 57.1% of asylum seekers who were granted refugee status were self-identified Christians—only 20% were Muslim”.
Mousa, much like Medhi who was put into a mental institute after his suicide attempt, is now in custody. 

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