Video shows a 16-year-old Iraqi boy was amongst the asylum seekers dragged out of an Icelandic church’s sanctuary, and faces deportation back to his home country.
Stundin reports that Toshiki Toma, the Lutheran church’s minister for immigrants, and Kristín Þórunn Tómasdóttir, the parish priest for Laugarneskirkja church, opened the church last evening to asylum seekers facing deportation. This was done with the approval of the Bishop of Iceland, in the hopes that the police would respect the long-standing tradition of church sanctuary.
This, however, would not be the case.
Both police and officials from the Directorate of Immigration arrived at about 4:00. Ali Nasir and Majed, two asylum seekers from Iraq, stood behind the church altar but were soon dragged away from the scene by police. When the police began to handcuff Ali, a friend of his stepped forward and pointed out that Ali is only 16 years old. In response, one of the officers struck him in the face, as you can see in the video below. Ali was then taken down the church stairs to a waiting squad car, where he burst into tears.
The two are to be deported to Norway, and from there, they will in all likelihood be sent back to Iraq. As difficult as it may be to believe, Norwegian authorities regularly deport Iraqi asylum seekers, despite the obvious level of danger and violence in that country, if the asylum seekers hail from southern Iraq, as this region is considered “safe”.
The asylum seekers rights group Ekki fleiri brottvísanir (No More Deportations) have shared photos from the scene.