Seventeen Albanians who were seeking asylum in Iceland were sent away from the country by airplane on Monday night. The plane was operating on behalf of Frontex, the European Union agency for external border security.Keflavík International Airport. Photo copyright Icelandic Photo Agency.
The plane made a stopover in Sweden and Italy where more asylum seekers from Albania embarked, 160 individuals in total, Fréttablaðið reports.
Of the 17 asylum seekers leaving Iceland, six were children, among them a five-month old baby who was born in the country. The asylum seekers also include a woman who is six months pregnant.
According to Fréttablaðið, the woman’s condition is poor due to stress. The asylum seekers were allegedly only notified of their departure 48 hours in advance.
The Icelandic Directorate of Immigration rejected the individuals’ applications for asylum but the reason for the decision has not been revealed. Frontex transported the asylum seekers on the basis of the EU Return Directive, the directorate explained.
Saga Ýrr Jónsdóttir, a lawyer at Vox who represented the asylum seekers, said a postponement of the decision had been sought but the request was denied.
Some of the Albanians had arrived in Iceland for the football game between the countries’ national teams in September.
Albanians make up the second-largest group of asylum seekers in Iceland this year after Croatians. All applications from Albanian asylum seekers have been rejected.