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Palestine protest Feb 5 2024
Photo: Erik Pomrenke. Protesters call on the Icelandic government ot act on already-approved family reunifications of Icelandic visa holders in Gaza.

Palestinian Family Deported To Greece

A Palestinian family comprised of a married couple and their 23-year-old son was taken into police custody early Saturday morning and deported to Greece yesterday, Vísir reports. RÚV reports that Icelanders protested in front of police headquarters en masse upon receiving news of the arrest, which was reportedly conducted by armed special forces.

The family had applied for international protection in Iceland, but were denied, and as such were told they had to leave the country or be deported to Greece.

Point of entry

Greece is a major point of entry for refugees fleeing Middle Eastern countries. Greek authorities will more often than not require these people to apply for international protection in Greece in order to enter the country, or be turned away. For this reason, asylum seekers who want to enter Europe through Greece will usually opt to apply for protection there, even if they have no intentions of staying in the country. Conditions in Greece for asylum seekers have been repeatedly criticised by international organisations.

Icelandic immigration authorities will typically not examine applications for international protection if the applicants have been granted protection elsewhere, and so those granted protection in Greece are very often deported to that country–even if the applicant only applied in order to enter Europe.

Special forces involved

The arrest itself was, according to an Icelander close to the family, conducted violently. Special forces reportedly burst into the family’s home in the early morning hours, ordered them to remain still, and then handcuffed the son, who was remanded into custody. The mother was allowed to pack a bag of some belongings but the couple were also escorted out by police.

The family remained in police custody until Sunday morning, when they were taken to Keflavík International Airport. Within hours, they were put on a plane to Greece. Meanwhile, the Icelandic Foreign Ministry has sent representatives to Egypt regarding Icelandic residence permit holders currently in Gaza.

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