Demonstration Today Before Parliament for Mansri Hichem - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Demonstration Today Before Parliament for Mansri Hichem

Published May 15, 2009

A protest demonstration will be held in front of parliament at 13:30
today as a show of support for Algerian asylum seeker Mansri Hichem,
who has been on a hunger strike for over three weeks now.
A Facebook group, at the time of this writing with nearly 300 members, is organizing the demonstration. A statement from the group reads, “Mansri Hichem has been made to wait in Iceland for two years, without an opportunity to take part in society, without an opportunity to work or continue his life. For two years he has been made to wait in desperate uncertainty from to day to day of whether his turn has come, that now he will be sent away, while his companions at the guesthouse [Gistiheimili Fit, in Njarðvík, where many asylum seekers are housed] disappear into uncertainty, one after another, taken away by the police, sent away and never seen again.”
Minister of Justice Ragna Árnadóttir told reporters  that the ministry
“will not be pressured by hunger strikes or other forms of protest”.
She added that for the ministry to bend to the pressure would upset the
balance of equal treatment that all applicants for asylum as supposed
to receive, and that he has to understand that the system doesn’t work
this way. Hichem’s case is, she continued, a top priority at the
ministry and she sincerely hopes he ends his hunger strike.

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