In November, an Iraqi asylum seeker called Ziad* from Jämsänkoski heard the court sentence a man who had threatened him the previous year with a knife and called him a vitun pakolainen (f**king asylum seeker) and vitun ulkomaalainen (f**king foreigner).
- The verdict? A one-month jail sentence and a 700-euro fine paid to the victim.
One of the most significant matters about the case is that it was not considered a hate crime. Ziad does not have an answer to why the police and court did not see that way.
Ziad said that after the court case he no longer trusts the Finnish justice system, never mind the police. He admits, however, that matters would be different if he were a resident.
“An asylum seeker is an animal and becomes a human being in Finland until he gets a residence permit,” he said.
Life has been especially hard for Ziad. At the beginning of December, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) informed him that he would not get a decision on his residence permit at the end of the year as promised.
“This constant sorry-no-decision-you-have-to-wait-a-further six months made me fall ill,” said Ziad. “It was too much for me, and I got a panic attack.”
Ziad says that there is talk among asylum seekers that 90% of the decisions by Migri will be negative.
“I have been waiting for six years for my residence permit and I only have one decision, which was negative,” he continued. “Even if I am 27, I feel like a 47-year-old man who is sick today taking six different medications daily.”
He stated that when he came to Finland, he was a healthy person.
“When I came to Finland [in 2015], I didn’t need medication,” Ziad said. “Now I use two pills for my panic attacks, one blood pressure and heart medicine, and two sleeping pills.”
He added: “I got so many problems, and it is all because of Migri. I am like a car with a lot of problems. You cannot fix it in one day.”
Ziad was sent to a psychiatric ward to help him with His panic attacks in December but was rejected because he did not have a social security number.
“I’ve been employed for the last two and a half years,” he said. “I pay taxes but have no rights.”
*The name was changed to protect their person’s identity.