A family of six, who fled persecution in Egypt to seek asylum in Iceland, are now facing deportation next week, Stundin reports. The family, which includes four young children, have lived in Iceland for over two years now. Icelandic regulations specify that any asylum seeker whose case has gone unprocessed for 16 months or longer is granted a residence permit for humanitarian reasons.
They were forced to leave their home country as the father of the family, Ibrahim Kehdr, was being persecuted in Egypt due to his political activities; namely, for supporting former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. They came to Iceland on August 7th of 2018 and applied for asylum on humanitarian grounds.
While the Directorate believes that Ibrahim’s account of the persecution he has faced in Egypt, including a knife attack and an attempted kidnapping, they did not believe the family would be in any danger in Egypt. As such, in July 2019, the Directorate of Immigration denied their application, and so the family filed an appeal with the Immigration Appeals Board. The Appeals Board came to the conclusion to agree with the Directorate’s decision in November of the same year. This would put them just a couple weeks shy of being granted asylum in accordance with the 16-month regulation.
However, the announcement of the date of their deportation, September 16th, only arrived late last week, by which time the family has been in Iceland for over two years.
“We completely disagree [with the Directorate’s decision],” lawyer for the family Magnús Davíð Norðdahl told Vísir. “[The parents] are terrified of being sent back to Egypt, and that they will be arrested. They won’t be able to care for their children while they’re in prison.” He points out that not being able to deport the family sooner, possibly due to the coronavirus pandemic, is not the fault of the family.
The children in question are aged two, five, nine and 12. They are all in playschool and primary school, and the three eldest children speak Icelandic.
“This decision is, to my mind, illegal, ethically wrong and inhumane,” Magnús said. “It is my opinion that this is simply systemic violence against the family, and it is shameful.”
A petition to grant the family asylum is now underway, with over 3,600 signatures at the time of this writing.
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