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Helsinki police suspend repatriations to Iraq

Finland will pause asylum seeker repatriations to Iraq following criticism by the European Court of Human Rights.

Demonstrators protesting repatriations to Iraq. Image: Don Trammell

Police tweeted the news on Saturday, saying that the suspension does not cover convicted criminals.

Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo immediately took to Twitter, saying Finland will now have time to investigate the case of Ali, an Iraqi man who was denied asylum in 2017, deported to Iraq and killed a few weeks later.

Earlier this week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Finland violated the European Convention on Human Rights in Ali's case on the point that everyone has the right to life.

The Finnish authorities repatriated Ali even though he had produced evidence he had been the target of assassination attempts in his home country before fleeing to Finland.

”I’ve asked leading civil servants to explain how we can ensure this never happens again,” Ohisalo told Yle.

While the minister said Ali’s case should not have been possible in a country like Finland, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has disclosed that it does not know how many other rejected asylum applicants may have been wrongly repatriated.