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SVT: Iranian journalist seeks asylum in Sweden, directed to Finland

After fleeing his hotel, the journalist asked officials for international protection, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.

Maahanmuuttoviraston ovi.
File photo of Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) logo. Image: Lotta Sundström / Yle

Last month, when a delegation with Iran's Foreign Affairs Minister Javad Zarif visited Stockholm, Sweden, Amri Tohid Fazel - a journalist also on the diplomatic junket - escaped and applied for asylum in Sweden.

According to Swedish public broadcaster SVT, when Fazel left, he fled his hotel, changed his clothes and threw out his phone's SIM card.

However, SVT reports, it appears that Fazel will have to turn to Finland for asylum instead, because that's where he and the rest of the delegation first arrived to Europe, the journalist's appointed lawyer, Maria Teresa Vanacore, said.

"We have just learned that his application for international protection has been moved from Sweden to Finland, which has said is the appropriate member state to decide his asylum application, as it was the first European country in which Fazel arrived, in line with the Dublin regulation," Vanacore was quoted saying by SVT.

The Dublin regulation determines which EU state is responsible for processing asylum applications.

No specifics from Migri

Citing rules on privacy, the Head of Dublin Section at the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), Mikko Montin, said he was unable to comment specifically on any individual case.

However, he said that all asylum seekers who arrive to Europe are subject to the Dublin rules and that each international protection application should be processed by the state which carries that responsibility.

Montin noted that, according to news reports, it appears the journalist likely entered the country with a visa, as Iranian citizens who enter the Schengen area are required to have them.

"In such a situation, it would at least appear that the responsible country is the one that issued the visa," Montin said.

"If this individual's application is the responsibility of Finland, and is moved there, then naturally the application will be handled [by Finland]," he said.

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