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Deported at Nine Months Pregnant

An Albanian couple and their two-year-old son were deported from Iceland last night, despite the mother being nine months pregnant. The woman checked into hospital yesterday evening due to a nosebleed where she received a medical certificate stating that “a long flight would be hard for her.” The Directorate of Immigration has stated that the certificate did not indicate flying would put the woman at risk.

The 26-year-old woman, days short of 36 weeks pregnant, was deported early this morning along with her husband and two-year-old son. The woman experienced a nosebleed yesterday evening and was taken to hospital, where she was examined in the Women’s and Children’s Services department. There she received a certificate confirming she was over 35 weeks pregnant which stated “she has had problem with back pain and a long flight would be hard for her.”

Police however, procured a so-called “fit to fly” certificate for the woman from another doctor, who the woman asserts she has never met.

Pregnant women “not accepted for travel”

A notice on Icelandair’s website states: “Expectant mothers must be in possession of a medical certificate not issued earlier than 72 hours prior to commencement of travel if they are in their last month of pregnancy or have previously experienced a premature birth. Expectant mothers in the last two weeks of pregnancy will not be accepted for travel.”

The Directorate of Immigration released a statement around noon today, asserting that the deportation was legal, as individuals who have been denied international protection and have no other right to reside in the country must leave Iceland according to law. A post from No Borders Iceland states, however, that the family has not received a written response to their application from the Directorate, and it is therefore possible their case has not been closed.

According to the Directorate, if a certificate is provided stating that travel will put the individual at risk, the deportation is delayed until the situation changes. The Directorate did not consider the wording of the certificate written last night to indicate that the woman was put at risk by flying.

Directorate of Health investigates

“We naturally take this very seriously,” Kjartan Hreinn Njálsson, Assistant to the Director of Health, told Vísir, saying that the Directorate of Health was requesting information in order to determine whether the deportation violated health regulations and if so prevent such a situation from happening again. “One cannot but take it seriously when the advice of experts and healthcare professionals is not heeded and not followed.”

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