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Supreme Administrative Court rules Finland should grant asylum to Turkish Kurd

The court said that the man’s imprisonment had been excessive and classified it as persecution.

Korkein hallinto-oikeus Fabianinkadulla Helsingissä.
Image: Juha Kivioja / Yle

Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court has overturned a decision by the Finnish Immigration Service, Migri, to reject the asylum application of a Kurdish man convicted by a Turkish court of supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party, which Turkey and Nato have designated as a terrorist group.

The Court ruled on Tuesday that Migri should have approved the man’s asylum application after he was convicted by Turkish authorities for posting images and photos in support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, which has been listed as a terrorist organisation by many states, including Turkey, the US and the UK.

Turkish courts sentenced the man to two years in prison for disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organisation and for membership in a terrorist group. For decades the PKK has fought for an independent state for Kurds – Kurdistan – in Turkey’s southeast.

The Court found that the man’s prison sentence had been disproportionate in relation to his actions and deemed his punishment as persecution.

The Court’s decision overturns not only the Migri order but a previous ruling by the Administrative court that upheld Migri’s decision.

The Supreme Administrative Court’s decision means that the case will now go back to the immigration authority so the man can be granted asylum in Finland.

EDIT 13.2.2019 This story originally stated the man had been convicted of 'war crimes', and has been edited to offer more detail on his conviction.

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