Refugee Deportation Order May Be Overturned

UUTISET (Finn), August 2, 2006

Finland may not have the right to deport eight Somali men convicted of repeated counts of robbery, assault, and sexual crimes.

The decision to deport the men was handed down by the Directorate of Immigration a few days ago. Officially, they have one month to appeal the decision. However, the case is likely to be tied up in court for months.

All of the men are from southern and central Somalia, which is still considered unstable after the recent capture of Mogadishu by Islamist militias. Deporting the men would contravene UNHCR recommendations that no refugees be returned to these areas.

Some also point out that the men were not criminals when they arrived in Finland, since they sought asylum as children.

“If a person has been in Finland since childhood, then any criminal acts as an adult cannot point to an inherent criminal nature. Instead, something is wrong here in Finland,” says law professor Martin Scheinin.

The eight men were convicted several times for violent crimes in the Helsinki area.

Finland lost a similar case a year ago in trying to deport a refugee convicted of violent crimes back to the Congo.

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