How “safe and reliable” is the Finnish police towards asylum seekers?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

How are asylum seekers treated in Finland by the police? One would hope that it would be in a humane and respectful manner. Migrant Tales has published two stories about asylum seekers being handcuffed and locked up in a police cell for many hours for what we’d consider minor offenses. 

The first case is of an Iraqi asylum seeker who was locked up for 15 hours for complaining about the very late payment of the small 92-euro allowance to those refugees in the reception center.

The second case is of another asylum seeker who protested against being moved to another room.

The third one below, which Migrant Tales had the opportunity to publish the complaint, reinforces the poor treatment some asylum seekers appear to get from the police.

If these cases are true, why isn’t any Finnish newspaper investigating never mind asking the police service if this is true?

A video published by the Finnish Immigration Service (FIS) assures asylum seekers that public officials like the police are “safe and reliable.”

Is this true?

All three asylum seekers above are staying at one of Luona’s asylum reception centers.

Näyttökuva 2016-2-24 kello 13.04.16

Below is near-verbatim transcription of the complaint dated February 18:


I am an Iraqi asylum seeker, Sunni who flee the death and the sectarian persecution and conflict. I am resident of Luona’s camp where me and other asylum seekers are victim of all kind of abuses. DELETED SENTENCE. I was victim of provocation and humiliation in two cases. The first time was in the end of October or beginning of November and the second time was 25.11.2016. I was handed in by the guards to the police without giving me the opportunity to wear my clothes. ADDED SENTENCE: I cried inside the police care all the way to the police station. One policeman said that I should not cry since I’m not a woman! Moreover the jail was too cold and I complained about the fact that I was not given a chance to have warm clothes. When I protested, the police showered me with cold water, I was obliged to make exercises for long hours and open the tin mattress to get some warmth. Furthermore, when the police they free me the following day, I did not get any assistance to back to camp. I have to find out by myself the way and I walked for many hours to the camp. It was very cold and I was in situation without bus card. I am newcomer to Finland I don’t know the way and don’t speak the language. I was traumatized and under shock when they took me for the second time in the same way and I protest the inhumane treatment of the guards of Luona. I resisted when 4 policemen tried to throw me in the same cell where I had suffered a psychological torture and mental trauma. However I have up when only one female policeman asked me to enter the mini-jail. It is not unacceptable when police treated me in that disrespectful way. Even they fined me and I have to pay a fine because I tried to save my life from cold and torture. Therefore I ask for a review of the unfair decision.

When I arrive to the camp like an “athlete” but with sandals, some of the residents and staff laughed that I became a joke in the camp and I was sick for almost a week. We suffer from negligence, no nurse, no social workers and even no instructors during the nights during the first months after the inauguration of the camp.

I am solitaire with many other victims of violation of our human dignity and rights. There are cameras so you can check in the jail. I am very shocked to hear that a young Afghani died in Espoo and there are speculations about the conditions of his death. I think that there are cameras to check if he was been in the nurse of not. Maybe there is no nurse at all, and it is very common and rule in Luona camp! Accordingly I add my voice to those who claim an official investigation over the unclear circumstances of the death of the poor asylum seeker.

We have heard all kind of strange stories in our camp and also everywhere in other camps. So we want your intervention and need your help to ensure our basic rights are protected.

Thank you very much,