Asylum Seeker to be Deported from Iceland Skip to content

Asylum Seeker to be Deported from Iceland

Kenyan citizen Paul Ramses was arrested in his home in Iceland yesterday where he has lived since January and was scheduled to be deported to Italy this morning. He had applied for asylum in Iceland due to political persecution in his home country.

According to Morgunbladid, Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration has not yet made a decision on Ramses’ application.

“I was told when I applied for political asylum that I fulfilled the requirements but that the Directorate of Immigration had to make the decision. I therefore turned to the directorate but have not received any answers,” Ramses explained.

Ramses said he had gone to the Directorate of Immigration four times to discuss his situation. “The police told me that the directorate had reached a decision and that they had permission to deport me,” he said in regards to yesterday’s arrest.

“Back home in Nairobi they kicked and hit me only because I participated in politics. I fear for my life,” Ramses said. He fled Kenya in January following persecution after he unsuccessfully ran for the Nairobi City Council elections in December 2007.

According to a special regulation on express treatment for urgent asylum applications, which may apply to Ramses’ case, the Directorate of Immigration is obligated to reply to his application for political asylum as soon as possible.

Ramses, who holds a university degree in tourism, has had earlier connections with Iceland because he cooperated with Icelanders on constructing a school in Nairobi. The project was supported by Iceland’s Foreign Ministry. Ramses has also worked with Iceland-based charity ABC Children’s Aid International and he lived in Iceland in 2005.

Ramses’ wife Atieno Othiembo and their infant son live in Iceland. “I don’t understand why Icelandic authorities react in this way. Our baby is only one-month old and needs its father. I can’t be here alone. Is this human?” Othiembo said.

“What is outrageous about this is that they are not considering their special circumstances at all,” said family friend Ólafur Ottósson who lived in Kenya for many years and is trying to help Ramses and his wife.

District attorney Katrín Theodórsdóttir explained that according to the Dublin Agreement between the Schengen countries, Icelandic authorities can deport Ramses. “The subject matter of the agreement involves that the European countries share responsibility of asylum seekers.”

“The country which first granted the asylum seeker a visa is responsible for that individual’s application,” Theodórsdóttir said. In Ramses’ case that country is Italy.

Each country can, however, evaluate the application out of humanitarian reasons. “Like when the applicant has relatives in the country where he or she applied for an asylum,” Theodórsdóttir added.

Haukur Gudmundsson, acting director of the Directorate of Immigration, said the evaluation period for asylum applications is generally too long and that the directorate is working on shortening it, but he would not comment on individual cases.

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