An Iraqi man who was refused asylum in Finland and believed to have been murdered a month after returning to his home country may still in fact be alive, police said on Wednesday, as they launched an investigation on charges of aggravated fraud and forgery.
The man, a Sunni Muslim born in 1971 according to court documents, was reportedly shot three times in December 2017 just weeks after he voluntarily returned to Baghdad after Finnish authorities turned down his asylum application.
The man’s daughter brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where judges last November found that Finnish authorities had violated the man’s human rights by refusing him asylum, and ordered the state to pay 20,000 euros in damages.
Following the ruling Finnish authorities said they would reconsider 500 asylum decisions.
However on Wednesday Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said in a statement that they had made one arrest and questioned a number of people in relation to suspicions that the documents involved in the case had been forged and that the man is still alive.
"The NBI has made information requests and has received a response from, among others, Iraq," detective inspector Jan Aarnisalo said, who told news agency STT that the investigation is still in its early stages, but that for a long time police have been considering "is everything quite as it should be here".
In their ruling, the Strasbourg judges noted that only photocopies of documents certifying the death of the man had been made available to Finnish authorities, and therefore their authenticity could not be proven.