Deported After 4 Years In Iceland, Faces Certain Persecution - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Deported After 4 Years In Iceland, Faces Certain Persecution

Published February 17, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

A Nigerian asylum seeker who faces certain persecution in his home country for his sexual orientation is to be deported from Iceland.

RÚV reports that Martin Omolu, a Nigerian man who sought asylum in Iceland four years ago, received notice yesterday that he is to surrender to police for deportation from Iceland. Martin, who is gay, dealt with concerted beatings and persecution in his home country because of his sexual orientation.

Martin told reporters he has assimilated well into Icelandic society, where he works two jobs and his sexual orientation is not an issue.

“I haven’t experienced any prejudice in this country, and people have accepted me the way I am,” he told reporters. “I have felt this very strongly in this country. Before [I came to Iceland], when people found out who I am and that I’m gay, they would avoid me.”

Martin is being sent to Italy, where he had previously received asylum, but where Martin says he has no friends and no connections. He has built a life for himself in Iceland, and wants to remain here.

The deportation of Martin comes after a battle that has gone on for years, making its way all the way to the Supreme Court. Last October, Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal temporarily delayed his deportation, calling for the case to be reviewed.

Ólöf told parliament last September that that Greece, Italy and Hungary are “not considered secure countries. It would not be safe to send asylum seekers back there”.


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