A family from Albania, including a woman who is nine months pregnant, was arrested early this morning for deportation. The family received no warning, their case was still pending appeal with immigration authorities, and medical personnel who examined the mother certified she was unfit to fly. It is unclear who ordered their deportation.
A lengthy Facebook post from No Borders Iceland detailed the events as they unfolded. The family is comprised of a couple and a two-year-old child, with the mother in the ninth month of her pregnancy. Police came to the asylum seeker shelter where they were staying last evening with the intent of arresting them for immediate deportation.
By law, authorities must provide asylum seekers with notice that their deportation is pending. Furthermore, this family’s asylum application was still waiting on a decision from the Immigration Appeals Board, which typically means that no final decision has been made on whether or not the application will be accepted.
The mother, upon being confronted by police, was understandably upset, and began to bleed heavily from the nose. The family requested to go to the hospital, which the police granted with the caveat that they would return to deport the family at 5:00 this morning.
Once at the hospital, the mother was admitted to the maternity ward for examination. Medical staff were put in the peculiar position of having to write up a “not fit to fly” certificate—normally, hospitals issue “fit to fly” certificates, and had never previously had to certify that a woman nine months pregnant cannot get on a plane.
Despite this, when the police returned at 3:00 and examined the certificate, they dismissed it entirely, saying that they had a certificate of their own stating that the woman in question was in fact fit to fly, issued by their own doctor at the Directorate of Immigration. However, the mother never met this doctor; she had taken a blood test 10 days earlier, but no other examination was performed. She furthermore was not shown the certificate the police claimed to have.
Ultimately, at 5:00 this morning, the police arrived with a van and two squad cars, arrested the family, and drove them to the airport for deportation.
The case marks a significant departure from past precedent when it comes to deportations, and appears to violate both Icelandic and international law. Who ordered this deportation—with no warning given and with their asylum application still pending appeal—is still unknown at the time of this writing.
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