An Iraqi family of four refusing to apply for asylum in Estonia where they were detained in September was sent back to Baghdad last week.
The family was on trying to reach Finland, when they were detained in Tallinn Harbor for not having visas or residence permits.
The 23-year-old mother, 29-year-old father and 3- and 4-year-old daughters had traveled through a number of European countries before boarding a plane from Vienna, Austria to Tallinn, Estonia. They had been in Tallinn for less than an hour when detained for breaking immigration rules.
While many European countries are currently allowing refugees to pass through their borders, Estonia is not among them. Refugees who enter the country without a valid visa or a residence permit have to turn to the first officer or civil servant they can find to immediately launch an asylum application.
The family in question refused to ask for asylum in Estonia, hoping to do it in Finland. This, however, made them illegal immigrants in the eyes of the law.
Illegal immigrants have no right to stay in Estonia. Current regulations allow them to be returned to the country from where they came to Estonia, and not necessarily their country of origin. Hence, the family could have been sent back to Austria. Before leaving, the mother said they were too disappointed in their “European dream”to stay and fight, Eesti Ekspress reported.
The family were deported on November 17, despite a petition in their support.
Before the deportation, the family were held in Harku Detention and Deportation Center.
Another family detained at the same time has opted to apply for asylum in Estonia. The mother and her two children were released from Harku and moved to an open accommodation center in Vao by court order.
Editor: M. Oll