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One week after minister admitted mistakes, ill asylum seeker returns to Denmark

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One week after minister admitted mistakes, ill asylum seeker returns to Denmark
An unrelated photo showing a balloon seller in Afghan capital Kabul. Photo: AP Photo/Rahmat Gul/Scanpix Denmark
14:50 CET+01:00
A refugee from Afghanistan who is suffering from heart disease has returned to Denmark, where he was previously refused asylum, a week after immigration minister Inger Støjberg admitted incorrect practise by her ministry.

During a parliamentary consultation last week, Støjberg said that her ministry had acted incorrectly in taking more than a year to adjust its processes to comply with a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling over the deportation of seriously ill asylum seekers.

Broadcaster DR reported on Thursday that Afghan national Naser Hosseini, who has a heart condition, has returned to Denmark despite having previously been refused humanitarian asylum.

Hosseini is unable to obtain the necessary medicine for his condition in Kabul, according to DR's report.

The ECHR ruling, known as the Paposhvili ruling, is based on a Belgian case involving a man from Georgia. The EU court found that Belgium could not deport the man given his seriously, although not terminally ill condition.

According to the ruling, generally available treatment for the relevant condition in the country to which rejected asylum seekers are returned is not sufficient on its own for expulsion of seriously ill individuals.

The Ministry of Immigration and Integration, which determines cases related to the granting of humanitarian residence, did not become aware of the December 2016 ECHR ruling until March 2017, when it was notified by the Ministry of Justice, reports Ritzau.

Denmark's Scandinavian neighbours Norway and Sweden had both already implemented the ruling into their practices by that time, according to previous reports. It was not until January this year that the Danish immigration ministry announced a four-week freeze on forced expulsions of rejected asylum seekers who are seriously ill while it further assesses the issue.

“In this instance, there was a regrettable course of events, which I as minister am obviously not satisfied with,” Støjberg said at last week's hearing, adding that a heavy workload in her ministry was one of the reasons for the breakdown in correct practice.

The ECHR ruling has been reported to have been overlooked in 11 Danish cases, in which seven have already resulted in persons leaving Denmark or being deported.

Støjberg would not confirm whether Hosseini was one of those seven deportations, citing confidentiality in individual cases.

At last week's parliamentary hearing, the minister confirmed that her department would seek to find out where the relevant persons are with a view to reviewing their cases.

READ ALSO: Immigration minister panned by opposition over ill refugee deportation scandal

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