Directorate of Immigration Acting Director Þorsteinn Gunnarsson told RÚV the Directorate was following regulations when an asylum seeker just shy of 36 weeks pregnant was deported yesterday alongside her husband and two-year-old son. Chief Physician of the National Hospital’s Maternity Ward considers it a serious issue that the Directorate deported the woman despite a medical certificate advising against the decision. The Minister of Justice has requested information on the procedure in such cases from the Directorate.
An 26-year-old Albanian woman was deported from Iceland early yesterday morning along with her husband and their two-year-old son. The woman had visited hospital the night before, where she had received a medical certificate stating that “a long flight would be hard for her.”
Medical advice interpreted differently
Eva Jónasdóttir, Chief Physician of the National Hospital’s Maternity Ward, stated it is a grave situation when a pregnant woman is sent on a flight despite a medical certificate stating is not advisable. “Obviously, asylum seekers are a very vulnerable group and are often in a mentally difficult situation, and therefore their health is maybe not the best,” Eva stated.
Þorsteinn stated the response from the medical field was unexpected, as the certificate provided did not clearly state that the woman should not fly. “It is usually very explicitly stated whether the person is capable of flying or not. When we read this certificate this morning, we understood it to simply be pointing out that it would be difficult to take a long flight.”
Justice Minister to meet with Bishop
Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir has requested further information on the case from the Directorate of Immigration. Áslaug stated that while the issue is under her jurisdiction, she does not oversee individual cases, rather hears of them via media as the public does.
Áslaug Arna also stated she will meet with Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, who requested a meeting with the Minister to discuss the deportation. The Bishop called it a “cruel act to send a pregnant woman away into uncertainty and destitution.”