From Iceland — Iranian Asylum Seeker On Hunger Strike, Faces Deportation To Greece

Iranian Asylum Seeker On Hunger Strike, Faces Deportation To Greece

Published September 4, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Amin Ghayszadeh

Amin Ghayszadeh is on his 13th day of his hunger strike, and faces deportation to Greece, a country often cited as one of the worst for refugees. A petition is currently being circulated, imploring immigration authorities to reconsider the deportation decision.

Amin left Iran five years ago, after his family disowned him for showing an interest in Christianity, and his criticism of the Iranian government also drew the ire of authorities. Like many other asylum seekers fleeing the Middle East, he ended up in Greece. There he received the treatment most refugees to Greece receive: he was detained, and forced to apply for asylum in the country or remain in prison.

This particular point is crucial, as it was used by the Directorate of Immigration (ÚTL) as a reason to deport him; ignoring the fact that he was forced to apply for asylum in Greece or remain imprisoned, ÚTL is treating the case as if he had voluntarily applied for asylum in Greece. Furthermore, the deplorable conditions of refugee camps in Greece have been a matter of public record for years. These deportations are in violation of both Icelandic law and international agreements of which Iceland is a signatory country.

Amin’s mental health is also suffering greatly, and he has emphasised in his asylum application in Iceland that this is one of the main reasons why he cannot return to Greece. He has received some mental health treatment in Iceland, and has responded to it well, making the importance of not breaking the continuity of his therapy all the more crucial.

While he received his deportation notice last July, he started his hunger strike on August 23. For this and many other reasons, a petition is being circulated calling upon ÚTL to reverse their decision and grant Amin asylum.

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