An asylum seeker from Ghana is fearful of being deported to Norway, as he believes Norwegian authorities will deport him to his home country, where he faces certain persecution and possibly death.
Benjamin Akosa was in his second year of university in Ghana when, in 2009, his life was shattered. Members of a cult of which his father was the leader targeted Benjamin for his refusal to follow in his father’s footsteps. He was kidnapped and tortured by the cult, but managed to escape captivity and flee the country with the help of the Ghana police.
From there, Ghana police shuttled him off to South Africa, where Benjamin says he faced what he describes as “xenophobia” on account of being west African. As such, he fled to Europe, and ended up in Norway.
Norwegian authorities rejected his appeal for asylum on the grounds that he could “stay in other parts of Ghana safely”, which Benjamin contends is false – the cult he ran from are still looking for him. He says he received inadequate legal representation and, with the help of a friend, came to Iceland.
Icelandic authorities have rejected his application for asylum on the grounds of the Dublin Regulation, an international agreement which gives signatory countries the power to deport asylum seekers if they have applied for asylum elsewhere. He has been required to report to the local police station daily, and is facing deportation any day now.
Benjamin told the Grapevine that at this point, he would even settle for being sent “anywhere else in west Africa but Ghana” if it comes to that. But most of all, he wants to stay in Iceland, where he has already started making a life for himself.
“I am using this opportunity to reach out to you, to please help me in any way you can,” he told us. “I am scared to be slaughtered, I cannot bear that pain. Save my life. I have just two options: that is to be protected here or committing suicide since I have nowhere to run to. I am young and educated, I cannot be wasted away just like this.”