Minister Says He Freed Young Refugees - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Minister Says He Freed Young Refugees

Published May 9, 2012

Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson said that he personally made the call which freed two teenaged Algerian boys from Icelandic prison, where they were being held for using falsified passports.
As reported, the boys – aged 15 and 16 – arrived at Keflavík International Airport on April 25. Passport control questioned the validity of their passports, and they turned out to be falsified. The two boys confessed, saying they were seeking asylum in Iceland. On April 30, they were sentenced to 30 days in prison.
After three days in jail, the boys are now out of prison – one in a private home, and the other in a minimum security institution. Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson, speaking on the afternoon radio show Síðdegisútvarpið on station Rás 2, said that his reaction to the news of their imprisonment was one of great surprise.
“When I was told news of the situation, that there were two young people in prison,” he said, “I immediately contacted the prison warden, the Government Agency for Child Protection, and the Directorate of Immigration, and made it clear that they would be transferred to someplace other than prison, and it was done.”
He added that the situation underlined the importance of re-working existing laws on asylum seekers, which the ministry is currently engaged in. The results of their work should see fruition in the fall.

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