Hunger Striking Asylum Seeker Admitted to Reykjavík Hospital

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Hunger Striking Asylum Seeker Admitted to Reykjavík Hospital

By Alëx Elliott
Landspítali National University Hospital

Photo: Sverrir H. Geirmundsson.

An Afghan asylum seeker on hunger strike was this morning rushed to hospital in Reykjavík, unconscious.

The Afghan man had been on hunger strike for over six days, whereby he has refused all food and drink, although he was given nutrition and fluid by drip when he spent a night in hospital last Wednesday.

Neither the Ministry of the Interior nor the Directorate of Immigration has commented publicly on his case, Vísir.is reports.

This morning Ghasem’s friends found him unconscious and he was rushed to hospital. There he was put on a drip and quickly regained consciousness, but he remains too weak to express himself properly.

Ghasem’s family are all dead and he fled Afghanistan at the age of 16. He arrived in Iceland in 2012 and applied for political asylum. The application was rejected on the grounds of the Dublin II Regulation, because he had previously applied for asylum in Sweden.

He appealed the decision to the Ministry of the Interior and is still waiting for a response to this day.

Ghasem was not granted asylum in Sweden and therefore believes he will end up being sent back to Afghanistan if the Icelandic authorities also reject his application. He says he cannot go back to Afghanistan and that he would rather die in Iceland than go back there. That is the reason behind his hunger strike.

Neither Ghasem nor his lawyer, Hjörtur Örn Eysteinsson, has heard anything from the Directorate of Immigration or the Ministry of the Interior since the hunger strike began.

Hjörtur told journalists that the case is taking an unusually long time to process and that he calls on the authorities to speed the process up, given the circumstances. Ghasem remains in the Landspítali hospital.

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