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Asylum seekers protest Reykjavík
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Deported Asylum Seekers Have Right to Reevaluation, Appeals Board Rules

The Immigration and Asylum Appeals Board has ruled that a group of asylum seekers have a right to a reevaluation of their applications, RÚV reports. As many from the group have already been deported to Greece, however, a lawyer for the appellants has stated that it might prove difficult for his clients to reappear before the Directorate of Immigration.

Difficult to implement the ruling

In October, Reykjavík’s District Court ruled in favour of Palestinian Suleiman Al Masr in his case against the government. The court concluded, among other things, that Al Masr could not be blamed for the delay in the government’s processing of his application, which resulted in his not being deported to Greece (while social restrictions were in effect and travellers were obligated to submit a negative COVID test).

Following the decision, Suleiman’s lawyer, Helgi Þorsteinsson Silva, asked the Appeals Board to rule in similar cases. The Appeals Board published the rulings this morning.

“There are over twenty rulings and over ten individuals whose applications have been reopened because the premises were similar to Al Masr’s case. For many of them, the decision means that it’s rather likely that they will be granted asylum in Iceland,” Helgi told RÚV.

All in all, Helgi believes that there are approximately 100 asylum seekers who have the same cause for appeal.

“But what’s interesting is that many of the asylum seekers have already been deported and some of them were arrested and put into custody not so long ago,” Helgi observed, adding that many of those dwelling in refugee camps in Greece would find it difficult to return to Iceland and appear before the Directorate of Immigration.

“It’s not uncommon for individuals,” Helgi explained, “who’ve been asylum seekers in Greece for some time, and who don’t have valid visas, for example, to have arrived in Iceland on the basis of Greek travel documents. In some instances, those documents are now expired. It could take a long time to renew those papers,” Helgi remarked, while also noting that the Greek asylum system was on the verge of collapse, as had been widely reported.

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