The impending deportation of two Syrian asylum seekers has been delayed, although it is still uncertain if or when they will be sent to Bulgaria.
“They will not be deported tonight or tomorrow,” lawyer Helga Vala Helgadóttir told MBL last night. “But I don’t know how long that’ll last. We asked for a delay of the decision and the Immigration Appeals Board has not taken a position on that request.”
As reported, the two Syrian asylum seekers were denied asylum on the grounds that they were granted it in Bulgaria. This is despite not only the testimony of the asylum seekers that they were jailed, beaten, and forced to apply for asylum there, but also despite international condemnation for how asylum seekers are treated in that country.
The deportation announcement sparked public criticism, culminating in a protest yesterday at the Ministry of the Interior. Hjalti Hrafn Hafþórsson, one of the organisers of the event, told Grapevine that their demands were simple: that the Interior Ministry stop all deportations, including this one, and exercise its legal authority to overrule decisions of the Directorate of Immigration.
In fact, the Interior Ministry has overruled deportation decisions before. On this occasion, protesters were greeted by a public relations official for the Ministry, who said he would pass the demands onto the Minister. He also requested the demand be sent by email, so that they could be responded to in writing. Readers will be updated when a response arrives.