HELSINKI – Dead man walking?

In November 2019, the European Court of Human Rights found that Finland was in breach of the Human Rights Convention, for the first time in the country’s history. However, in light of new evidence, it appears the Court may have been wrong.

Ali, an Iraqi asylum seeker, came to Finland in 2017 on the grounds that as a Sunni civil servant, his life was threatened by the Shiia militia. After his asylum seeker application was rejected, he returned voluntarily back to Iraq. Soon after, in December that year, he was reportedly shot and killed.

The case was brought to the European Court of Human Rights by the victim’s daughter. After the country found basic human rights to have been violated, the Strasbourg court ordered the state of Finland to pay it a sum of €20,000 in compensation. 

Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Greens) referred to the decision as “very weighty and significant,” while Finland had promised to reconsider other asylum decisions. 

Now, in late April 2020, the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is saying there are strong suspicions that based on information from Iraq “among others”, Ali might still be alive as it attests that the death certificate may be fake.

As a result, the daughter of Ali has been taken into custody and is about to face charges of fraud and forgery.

In case it was found that fraud was committed, demands for tighter immigration would get wind and the populist Finns Party would profit. Also, such malpractice would erode the credibility of future asylum applications. (Pekka Vänttinen |

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