Disregarding Danger: Sweden to Deport Christian to Iran
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STOCKHOLM – Sweden is about to deport Iranian Christian actress Aideen Strandsson back to Iran, where she faces torture, rape and even death in an Iranian prison.
It is a clear violation of international law. But, as Swedish officials have told Aideen, becoming a Christian was her decision, and now it's her problem and not theirs.
This from a nation that thinks of itself as the 'humanitarian superpower' that welcomed refugees with open arms, until the government took too much political heat and decided that some would have to go, even if it kills them.
Sweden's migration board even violates its own stated principles: that it will never deport asylum seekers to a nation where they will be harmed, according to Swedish Attorney Gabriel Donner, who has assisted an estimated 1,000 Christian asylum-seekers facing deportation.
"The migration board has on its home page information about each country. And in the information regarding Iran there are plenty of reports stating that it is standard to torture and rape in Iranian prisons," Donner said. "And the question we have been asking the migration board time and time again is why do you put this information on your homepage if you don't follow it? "
We asked Donner if, in Aideen's case, Swedish authorities don't believe she's a real Christian or they just don't care.
"They don't care," he replied. "It's numbers. They have promised the people of Sweden that they will deport more people than before, and so they have to fill a quota."
A Dream About Jesus
Aideen Strandsson came to Sweden in 2014 on a work visa and adopted a Swedish last name. She had starred in films and a TV series in Iran, making her an even bigger target if she is sent back.
She said she turned to Christ in Iran, after seeing a video of Muslims stoning a woman to death, telling us, "I decided at that moment I don't want to be Muslim anymore."
Then she said she had a dream.
"I had a dream about Jesus, and I remember he was sitting near me and he took my hand."
In Iran, where it can be deadly to convert to Christianity, Aideen kept her conversion largely a secret. But when she came to Sweden, she requested a public baptism.
She said, "I wanted to be baptized in public because I wanted say 'I am free,' 'I am a Christian,' and I wanted everyone to know about that."
Iranian intelligence most likely knows now, too. She's already gotten threats from Muslims on social media.
What Geneva Convention?
Article 33 of the Geneva Convention on Refugees, which Sweden signed, prohibits nations from deporting asylum seekers back to nations where they could face danger.
But that hasn't stopped Sweden.
CBN News has interviewed several Christian asylum seekers in Sweden facing danger because of deportation to Islamic nations.
Donner estimates there are 8,000 Christians hiding in Sweden because they are under deportation orders.
He said part of the problem is that migration officials don't understand why someone would become a Christian and don't understand what it means to be a Christian. Less than 20 percent of Swedes say they believe in God.
Donner said, "This is most apparent when they come to the question when a convert says I converted because of the love I have received from Jesus Christ. And they almost mockingly ask the convert, what do you mean by love? It's just completely alien to them.'
Asylum Rejected, Prison Expected
A Swedish Migration Board press officer told us, "If the person [has] well-founded reasons to fear persecution due to religious beliefs, he or she will be granted asylum in Sweden."
But Aideen's asylum request has been rejected and her case has been turned over to the border police. At her hearing, a Swedish migration official told her it wouldn't be as bad for her in Iran as she is expecting because it would only be six months in prison.
Donner told us a similar case in which an Iranian woman was imprisoned for becoming a Christian.
"After her release [from prison] she was silent, she did not tell what had happened. After six weeks she threw herself out of a window on the fourth floor and killed herself."
But stories like these may not help save Aideen from deportation.
She told us Swedish migration officials "don't care" about the danger she faces, and to them, six months in an Iranian prison is "no problem."
Opinions about Aideen's case can be sent to Sweden's migration board: https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Contact-us.html or the Embassy of Sweden: 2900 K St NW, Washington, DC · (202) 467-2600
After our story posted, a Swedish migration official contacted CBN News saying they would not change their decision, no matter how many CBN readers contact them.
"Her case has been appealed and processed by the Migration Agency and thereafter by the Swedish courts -which have also decided that she cannot be granted asylum," Ulrika Langels wrote to CBN News.
"Please note that the fact that your readers write to us will not change the Migration Agencys decision, nor can we change the courts decision. I would therefore ask you to remove this from the article since the only answer we can give to your readers is what we already told you," Langels continued.
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