A letter from a jailed Iraqi asylum seeker in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Instead of making Iraqi Muslims feel at home in Finland, the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä is doing everything possible – in the Timo Soini and Jussi Halla-aho spirit – to make their lives miserable. Sipilä and his government are the enthusiastic planters of the seeds of discrimination and inequality of Finland’s Muslim and visible migrant community. 

Spilä’s government would care less for human rights and the suffering of others. He would rather heed to far-right anti-immigrant advice than defend values like human rights.

I wonder what the prime minister and his ministers would say if they were treated in the same way as they treat asylum seekers in Finland?

Below, is a letter from an Iraqi asylum seeker called Mohammed.*

He has been held at the Metsälä immigration removal center since March 22. Like many, he is facing deportation after getting three rejections for asylum.

“I was so happy when I left my country [in September 2015],” he said on the phone, adding that he now faces deportation. “There is nothing I can do now.”


Mohammed writes:

“I used to live with my family in Ramadi until ISIS occupied it. We then moved to Baghdad. My father was a police officer. In Baghdad, I founded a civil NGO to help poor people and refugees until I was threatened. My parents asked me to leave the country and go to Turkey. From there I took a boat to Europe. Forty-eight persons on that boat drowned. I continued from Greece to Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden till Finland. I applied for asylum, but my plea was rejected. I moved to Helsinki and worked as a baker at an Iraqi restaurant that took advantage of me because I needed work. I worked long hours and was paid little money. After two years and seven months, after my third negative [for asylum], I was arrested and placed in this immigration removal center. I am now here together with thieves, smugglers and drug dealers.”

*The name was changed to protect his identity because he is an asylum seeker.