Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson has said that he stands by the decision of the Directorate of Immigration to deport an asylum seeker from Mauritania.
As reported, Mouhamde Lo, a 22-year-old from Mauritania who is seeking political asylum in Iceland, is an escaped slave. Initially, he fled to Norway, but when he was threatened with deportation, he came to Iceland instead.
Despite his home country’s well known and established reputation regarding slavery, the Directorate of Immigration has attempted to send Mouhamde back to Norway, where he faces certain deportation to Mauritania. There, he would likely be tortured and possibly executed for escaping slavery in the first place. Mouhamde is currently in hiding in Iceland.
Public support for his case has been growing, and there is a protest demonstration scheduled for tomorrow at noon in front of the Prime Minister’s office on Lækjargata to voice that support. However, the Minister of the Interior – the highest authority to be able to decide Mouhamde’s fate – told DV that he supports the deportation.
Ögmundur said that “Iceland must respect its international obligations,” referring to the Dublin Regulation – an international treaty which gives countries the right to deport asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure. That being the case, the treaty does not actually oblige nations to deport.
The minister also said that Mouhmade’s case is not closed in Norway, and that he has the right to appeal any deportation decision made by Norwegian authorities. However, this right to appeal – known as “Rule 39” – requires those seeking to appeal to file their claim with the European Court of Human Rights, which is located in France.
For the time being, Mouhamde will remain in hiding.