The deportation of Iranian Christian converts whose asylum applications are not accepted in European countries is a matter of concern for many like Daniel Alikai, especially since the records show such individuals face even greater danger upon their return to Iran than what caused them to leave the country.
Daniel Alikai, a Christian asylum seeker in Sweden, is reportedly at risk of deportation to Iran.
The Christian convert told Mohabat News that on November 12 2020, the Swedish Immigration Service notified him of their decision to deport him to Iran. Ever since Alikai received the news of this decision all his legal efforts to overturn the decision have fallen short.
Daniel Alikai faced persecution in Iran as part of an Iranian campaign to crack down on Christians in February 2010. The campaign followed the events post 2009 Iranian Presidential election when Iranian voters took to the streets to protest the results of the election. As a result Iranian government intensified it’s pressure on political and religious dissidents, including Christian converts and house church leaders.
One of the detainees in that campaign was “Wilson Esavi”, the pastor of the Assyrian Church in Kermanshah. He was arrested on February 2, 2010 on his way to Shahinshahr, Esfahan, to visit a friend. Waves of arrests swept through Kermanshah, Esfahan and Tehran, and consequently a large number of Christian converts were arrested or summoned and interrogated.
Daniel Alikai was one of the Christian converts arrested at the time. Iranian security authorities raided his house in Shahinshahr. They searched his house and confiscated several Bibles, pamphlets and several paintings. After the raid Alikai was repeatedly summoned and interrogated by security authorities.
Pressure on religious minorities, especially Christians, escalated in the second presidential term of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei’s speech in October 2009.
In his speech given on the first day of his nine day visit in Qom, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic stated that “the sedition of 2009 vaccinated the country against political and social germs”. Additionally he claimed “the enemies of Islam” intend to weaken influence of religion in Iranian society. He added the enemy does this by “spreading lawlessness and barbarism, promoting false mysticism, Baha’ism, and expanding house churches”.
After Khamenei’s speech, other Iranian political and religious officials followed suit and created a wave of rhetoric that allowed security and judicial officials to attack dissidents and religious minorities in an organized manner.
Recalling events of 2010, Daniel Alikai told Mohabat News, “My passport and cell phone were confiscated and kept for a long time. They constantly raided my home and workplace, a pastry shop, and I was interrogated several times in a safe house and once at the press office of the Presidential Office in Esfahan.”
Alikai was baptized in 2009 at the Pentecostal Church in Esfahan. He remained silent about his baptism in order to save his life and to avoid threats from his family. However video and photos of the baptism of a number of Christian converts were published that including Alikai’s baptism. Immediately after this his passport was confiscated to ensure he will not flee the country.
Following confiscation of his passport pressure on Daniel Alikai increased, which forced him to send his child and wife to Sweden ahead of himself. His wife was eventually able to get him to Sweden in 2017 after he was able to get his passport back from the government. He claimed asylum in Sweden but his asylum application was rejected three times for different reasons. He is in imminent danger of deportation and is seeking help from Human Rights Organizations.
Islamic Republic of Iran detains deported Christians immediately upon their arrival in Iran. One of the deportees to Iran in a similar situation is Fatemeh Azad, who returned to Iran in August 2019 after being deported from Germany. She was immediately arrested in Tehran as she arrived in the county. This prompted Amnesty International to call on Germany to reconsider deporting Iranian Christian converts back to their country.
Source » mohabatnews