Belgian Immigration Office 'still unjustly' detaining Iranian asylum seekers

Belgian Immigration Office 'still unjustly' detaining Iranian asylum seekers
Credit: Victor Van Kerckhove/Belga.

Two Iranian cousins have once again been detained by Belgian authorities at an asylum centre, despite a recent ruling ordering their release. Both asylum seekers were ordered to be deported back to Iran, which is currently in the midst of a violently repressed uprising.

A Brussels court decided to overrule the Immigration Office's decision to detain both cousins, whose asylum application had been rejected. The court also found on Monday that the office's arguments were "too succinct" to justify their detention at a closed asylum centre in the Flemish municipality of Steenokkerzeel.

Moreover, it was judged that the Immigration Office's only argument was that they wanted to send them back to their home country of Iran, as they had tried to do on 23 January.

Accompanied by another asylum seeker, they had been brought to Brussels Airport in Zaventem but refused to board the plane. A gathering then grew at the airport's departures hall, with people urging authorities not to deport the three men, as they risked death in their home country.

Related News

Nonetheless, the Immigration Office persisted and has ordered for both cousins to be detained once more. One of the asylum seekers' lawyers stated that her client had been forced to sign documents in Farsi (Iran's majority language) which they had difficulties understanding.

The issue has become the latest reminder of Belgium's ongoing reception crisis, which has now seen authorities threaten to send asylum seekers back to their home country of Iran, when calls had been made to show solidarity with the protesting population.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.