YLE: Finland deports dozens of torture victims each year

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment:  Dr. Pekka Tuomala, the director of the Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland, has accused the Finnish Immigration Service (FIS) of deporting refugees who have suffered torture to their home countries. 

Tuomala says that torture can include psychological methods like watching a relative being killed or raped. Such cases are often ignored by the FIS, according to him. 

“We can make a well-grounded assessment of whether somebody has been tortured or not, and we write that in medical statements,” says Tuomola. “According to the UN convention, torture victims should not be returned to the country where they were tortured. The problem is that the Immigration Service does not always believe us, or consider our statements.”

This is not the first time that Finland has deported asylum-seekers back to their home countries. In the cold war, it was the custom to send Soviet refugees back to the USSR.

Torture is the same thing but even countries like the United States have tried to make it more acceptable to the public. Even though the CIA taught repressive military regimes in different continents to the art of torture. Today the same crimes are committed through a funny term known as extraordinary rendition

“This is a really awful experience when you find out that a person is going to be returned to the same situation in which they were tortured,” said Tuomala. “In effect, it’s a death sentence.”


The director of the Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland, Pekka Tuomala, has accused the Finnish Immigration Service of callous disregard for torture victims. He says that dozens of asylum seekers have their applications turned down and are deported back to their country of origin, in contravention of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Nearly 60 percent of all asylum seekers in Finland have some kind of torture trauma. Physical and sexual torture are the most commonly understood ways in which people experience torture, but the effects of psychological torture can be even more serious.

Read whole story.

  1. Mark McGreevey

    It’s not clear to me how they even can enter Finland to claim any kind of asylum if Finland stops them at the borders in the first place. Can you please clarify how they can even be there making any sort of claim? How do they get in, illegally? Give examples, for example, if from the Middle East, how do they arrive, and why are they not stopped at the boat or plane before entering?

    I see the sad part here not the person’s history in his/her own country, but the fact that Finland is not guarding its borders, putting then both its own citizens in danger, and then further “torturing” these illegal “asylum seekers” by denying them entrance AFTER they’ve entered. They’re being misled somewhere in the press, or the grapevine, that Finns want them at all. This is cruel. There is no Statue of Liberty in Helsinki harbor.

    As for sending Soviet defectors back, that was not Finland’s choice. Finland was over a barrel in many regards, living next to a big nasty bear, forced into trade agreements, etc. Finns love Russians, as we know, and the Finnish authorities would never had denied a Russian asylum if it were up to the Finnish people, a tolerant and open group. No, it was the Russians calling the shots and demanding their own form of “extraordinary rendition”.

    There’s only one solution to stop duping poor suckers from entering Finland, only to be turned away after months of waiting in Lapland detention centers, shoveling snow and ice.

    Quit playing “nice guy”, play the Russian card, show you mean business from the get-go!

    Send out to the world the opposite message, block all illegals, arrest and deport within 24 hours, enforce it thoroughly, and this sad state of affairs will end. “Finland” will become a “no-go” zone for those playing asylum games.

    They’ll go to Sweden or Norway!

    Problem solved.

  2. JusticeDemon

    Mark McGreevey

    There are about ten million illegal aliens in the USA, but how do you work out that a person in Finland seeking refuge from torture is an illegal immigrant?

    TIP: This is an opportunity for you to display your complete ignorance of your chosen subject of discussion. Do some studying before you answer. Start with subsection 3 of section 40 of the Aliens Act.

  3. JusticeDemon


    Shame on you for repeating this lie. This has been discussed elsewhere in threads to which you have contributed.

    Asylum seekers are not illegal immigrants. Finland acceded to both the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees on 10 October 1968.

    An asylum seeker is – by definition – a person awaiting the outcome of an application for leave to remain. As such the residence of an asylum seeker in Finland is lawful pursuant to subsection 3 of section 40 of the Aliens Act:

    Ulkomaalainen saa laillisesti oleskella maassa hakemuksen käsittelyn ajan, kunnes asia on lainvoimaisesti ratkaistu tai on tehty täytäntöönpanokelpoinen päätös ulkomaalaisen maasta poistamiseksi.

    Your claim that asylum seekers are illegal immigrants is thus self-evidently incorrect. They are neither immigrants nor unlawful residents.

    Around two-thirds of former asylum seekers are granted leave to remain in Finland for one reason or another, and fewer than one in ten applications is held to be manifestly unfounded. The asylum system in Finland requires all applicants for international humanitarian protection to request asylum, even when the request is based on other instruments such as ICAT or ECHR.

  4. Allan

    Illegal immigrants becoming “legal” by saying the magic word “asylum” beats David Copperfield illusions.

  5. JusticeDemon


    Why the deliberate ignorance? Asylum seekers are neither immigrants nor illegal residents. This is simple enough for you to understand even after a night on the piss. When the USA refers to ten million illegal immigrants within its borders, it specifically does not include asylum seekers.

    Your credibility in commenting on these matters is shot to hell if you haven’t even grasped the basic standard terminology of immigration.

  6. Allan

    You apparently don’t grasp that the whole asylum seeker system is wholeheartedly abused by people wanting to immigrate, as the other options do not give them residence permits. The whole EU suffers of this problem, and real asylum seekers as well.

  7. JusticeDemon


    So do you now accept that asylum seekers are neither immigrants nor unlawful residents, and á fortiori not illegal immigrants?

    We can examine the more general issue of international humanitarian protection after you accept the basic terminology and stop telling deliberate lies about asylum seekers.

    The problem is that you mouth off while you are drunk, and then others with less intelligence and greater inebriation go throwing petrol bombs at reception centres.

  8. Allan

    Asylum seekers are the ones telling deliberate lies. Or do you actually believe people materialize from thin air? Anyone crossing the border in a truck is an illegal immigrant.The only difference is that an asylum seeker says the magic word and somehow changes himself into a humanitarian case when they get caught. If they were a real humanitarian case they would apply for asylum in the first safe country they find, but not wait around to get to one with better social benefits and lax permit policies.

    • Enrique

      Allan, if I were an asylum-seeker I would choose a country that would treat me in the most humane manner possible. Greece? Forget it. Italy? Not. Malta? No way. The problem with your assumption is that (a) all asylum seekers are “welfare shoppers” out to siphon the system and (b) they should, as a result be treated that way. Do you think that if a Somalian or an Iraqi applies for asylum it is unfounded? Did they make up all the horrible things going on in their countries? And use logic, why would anyone one stay in a country where his/her life is in danger, offers no future and which the west has abandoned or uses for its own geopolitical purposes? It’s a failed policy that should change.

  9. JusticeDemon


    You are mindbogglingly ignorant of Finnish and international law and practice.

    Anyone crossing the border in a truck is an illegal immigrant.

    Such a person is not an immigrant at all. Immigration requires permanent settlement. The correct expression is illegal alien, where the specific illegality is a border offence under section 7 of chapter 17 of the Penal Code. However, in line with Article 31 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, this provision specifically excludes asylum seekers and victims of trafficking in human beings. So the Parliament of Finland makes you wrong on that count, Allan, and your score so far is minus two points.

    The only difference is that an asylum seeker says the magic word and somehow changes himself into a humanitarian case when they get caught.

    Irregular border crossing is very unusual in Finland. Most asylum seekers lodge their applications on arrival at ports of entry. In any case the application must be lodged within no more than a few days of arriving (cf. Article 31 of GRC and section 95 of the Aliens Act). The “magic word” is helpful only in ensuring that the nature of the application is understood at once, but subsection 2 of section 94 of the Aliens Act is quite clear that there is no specific need to style the application in any particular way:

    Ihmisoikeuksiensa vaarantumiseen vetoavan ulkomaalaisen katsotaan hakevan turvapaikkaa, jollei hän nimenomaan muuta ilmoita.

    The Soviet chess grandmaster and world championship contender Viktor Korchnoi famously asked another player how to spell “political asylum” before defecting to the Netherlands in 1976, but there was no absolute need for this finesse. More important is the requirement to give a detailed account of the grounds for seeking humanitarian protection (subsections 1 and 3 of section 94 and subsection 2 of section 97 a of the Aliens Act and passim). So again the Parliament of Finland makes you wrong, Allan, you lose a further two points and your score is now minus four points.

    If they were a real humanitarian case they would apply for asylum in the first safe country they find, but not wait around to get to one with better social benefits and lax permit policies.

    Have you never seen Finnair’s map of the world, Allan? An Uighuri Christian is likely to arrive in Finland on a connecting flight from Beijing or Hong Kong. Would you have all other GRC countries send their asylum seekers back to Helsinki based on stopovers? Finland is a party to the Dublin II Regulation, which enables EU Member States and certain other countries to determine the most appropriate venue for examining applications. In cases where asylum seekers are able to choose their destinations, these choices tend to favour places where friends and relatives are already living. So you lose another point for general crass ignorance, making a final grand total of minus five points.

    Only about one asylum application in ten is rejected on merit as manifestly unfounded. Even this finding does not mean that the application was abusive. It is also less than the proportion of social security benefit applications that are turned down in Finland, but I don’t hear you claiming that all welfare applicants are cheats. Or perhaps I do, but only after you’ve had your morning kossu.

  10. Allan

    JD – and exactly how many christian uighurs have applied asylum in Finland? You are apparently in the business of benefitting from human trafficking.

  11. Allan

    Enrique – is there war in Greece, Italy or Malta? Finns go to holidays to these countries. What is so inhumane in them, after all they are the origins of the so-called “western civilization”? The only reason for someone to come to Finland is that we have too lax a system with too good benefits. They could go to Estonia, there is no war in Estonia? Oh, but there is no welfare benefits in Estonia either. Oh, and Iraq and Somalia, do you know when an asylum seeker gets a Finnish passport they go on holiday to these countries as well, and send their children there to “learn their culture”. Use logic.

    • Enrique

      Allan, do you mean “civilized” as nineteenth century European culture when we ruled and pillaged half of the world? Then came World War 1 and 2. Is that how civilized countries act?

      I personally raise my hat to people who want to leave their failed countries and search for greater opportunities. They are ambitious and you are doing them an injustice by stating that they go through hell and high water to live off our “generous” welfare. Generous? Try living off 450 euros a month. But, as usual, immigrants and refugees are survivors. They have gone through the mill while many people who complain have become lazy, cynical and self -righteous. They are like Europe today: in a sort of slow economic decay and being challenged by new economies like China, India and in the future by Brazil.

      Did you know that due to the crisis in Spain, many thousands of Spaniards are emigrating to Argentina? Economic cycles change. Be nice to people because you never know when you’ll need a friend.

  12. JusticeDemon


    Have you forgotten what you asserted?

    Time to big up and admit that you were wrong to characterise asylum seekers as illegal immigrants. The Parliament of Finland says they’re neither immigrants nor illegal, so where does that leave you? The only question is whether you are now big enough to apologise for smearing a population group.

    The Uighuri are included in Migri statistics on international humanitarian protection granted to citizens of PRC.

    I have no idea what you mean by benefiting from human trafficking.

  13. Hannu

    justicedemon you forget that even if magic word “asylym” do change them as not illegall it doesnt change de facto illegality.

  14. JusticeDemon


    When are you going to sober up and get some basic book learning on this area of law and public policy?