Christian asylum seekers forcibly returned from Europe live in fear

A new report by Amnesty International has highlighted the plight of Afghan Christian converts deported back to Afghanistan, who now live in fear of their lives.

Mohabat News _   Farid was deported to Kabul from Norway in May 2017. Although his family are from Afghanistan, he grew up in Iran and later made his way to Norway where he converted to Christianity and was baptised. After nine years in Norway, during which time the 32-year-old learned Norwegian, his claim for asylum was rejected. Norwegian authorities told him he would be safe in Kabul, but his Iranian family have rejected him and he cannot live in the province his family come from. “I am scared,” he explains, “I don’t know anything about Afghanistan. Where will I go? I don’t have funds to live alone and I can’t live with [Muslim] relatives because they will see that I don’t pray [Islamic prayers].”

In another case, a 24-year-old Afghan Christian convert, deported back to Kabul from Sweden in March 2017, is forced to live in hiding. His photo was circulated in Kabul and his hometown, because he has criticised Islam on social media. He told Amnesty researchers, “I am scared that someone will recognise me and kill me.”

More than 9,000 asylum seekers, some of whom are Christians, have been returned to Afghanistan from European countries since 2015. Afghan Christian converts from Islam can legally face the death penalty for apostasy; the last time a case reached the courts in 2006, international outcry led to the man charged being declared “insane”, thus saving him from execution. The Amnesty report concludes: “In their determination to increase the number of deportations, European governments are implementing a policy that is reckless and unlawful. Wilfully blind to the evidence that violence is at a record high and no part of Afghanistan is safe, they are putting people at risk of torture, kidnapping, death.”

From Amnesty International here