An asylum seeker on his 12th day of a hunger strike says he is exhausted, but he would rather die in Iceland than be sent back to Greece. Vísir reports that the man, named Amin Ghayszadeh, has been denied asylum in Iceland and is set to be deported.
Amin is 26 years old and born in Iran. He says that he faced persecution after converting from Islam to Christianity and fled because he feared for his life. “I am from Iran and faced both religious and political difficulties,” he says. “That’s why I had to flee.”
Amin arrived in Iceland last year in December and applied for asylum. Like many other refugees, he first went to Greece, where he was granted international protection. Asylum seekers with that status are sent back to Greece by Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration. The Icelandic Red Cross has repeatedly criticised such deportations, however, due to poor living conditions for refugees in Greece.
Amin currently resides in housing under the auspices of the Directorate of Immigration on Grensásvegur in Reykjavík. He has been on a hunger strike for 12 days and says he cannot return to Greece.
“I can’t go back to Greece. If I die here it doesn’t matter. I try to explain that if I return to Greece I’m in danger. I can’t live there, so I’ll stay here as long as I can,” Amin says.
Amin weighed only 52kg (114lbs) before starting the hunger strike and has lost a considerable amount of weight since. “My body is cold and I have heart pains,” he says.
Amin’s lawyer says reopening his case is being considered on the basis of changed health conditions. Amin says he will continue to strike until he is listened to. “I will do this for as long as the government needs to send me back to Greece,” he stated.