Wednesday, May 18

We must not send a human being to torture and persecution

  • Kaja Elise Meløy Yngsdal Hilleren (21)

    Political science student, University of Southeast Norway, SV politician

The police immigration boarding school at Trandum. The photo was taken in 2016.

We must not send a human being to torture and persecution.

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The Christian convert Mehdireza Kabiriasl from Iran has been imprisoned at the Police Immigration Boarding School on Trandum since the spring of 2021.

He is sitting there because Norway wants to send him back to Iran. A country where he risks both torture and the death penalty.

I’m following his case through a support group Facebook. There I have been informed that Kabiriasl sought asylum because of his affiliation with the Revolutionary Guards in Iran. He is thus to be regarded as a deserter, ie one who has withdrawn from service.

After arriving in Norway, he converted from passive Islam to Christianity. These factors make Iran a very dangerous country for him.

The support group stated that the Immigration Appeals Board believes that Kabiriasl is not in danger of being persecuted in Iran. On the website theirs says it can go well as long as the converts keep a low profile.

Reports of torture

According to the UN, the people of Iran have few or no civilians rights. Nor is freedom of religion.

In report from the Norwegian organization for asylum seekers (Noas) tells about whipping of Christians who have attended communion in Iran. Several of the arrested Christians report torture in the form of violence. They are imprisoned for long periods, sit in isolation and are refused to exercise their faith.

Christian converts are not allowed to go to church and the state has banned Christian preaching and the Bible in Persian.

According to Freedom House, which measures freedom in each country, Iran scores only 16 out of a total of 100 point and is termed “not free”.

Norway must stand up for human rights, says Kaja Elise Meløy Yngsdal Hilleren (21).

According to Noas, Iranian converts automatically receive a residence permit in both Denmark and the United Kingdom. It is disappointing that Norway treats Christian converts differently.

Norway is committed to safeguarding human rights. Among other things, according to the world declaration of human rights and through a number of conventions.

Norway must clean up

Norway now risks violating international law. Torturforbudet is strong in international law and is considered to be what is called customary law, ie that it is usually followed. The ban makes it forbidden to send people to countries where the risk of torture is high.

By sending Mehdireza to Iran, Norway contributes to his being tortured. Does not that mean that Norway violates the prohibition of torture and international law?

Sweden tried to send a Christian convert back to Iran, but was convicted for human rights violations in the European Court of Human Rights.

The court ruled that Sweden would violate Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This entails a ban on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Norway can probably get the same punishment.

But the state still has the opportunity to clean up: By not sending a human being to torture and persecution.

The matter should have been simple. Norway must stand up for human rights and not help the Iranian regime persecute Christian converts.

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