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Damascus: Kurd deported from Denmark tortured upon arrival in Syria

KURDWATCH, March 29, 2011—On February 8, 2011, the refugee Annas Abdullah (b. 1982, married, one child) was deported from Denmark to Syria via Vienna. Although Denmark had been assured that Abdullah would be repatriated, he was informed at the Damascus Airport that he could not enter the country because he was not a Syrian citizen. He was told either to leave the country or he would be detained until his identity was verified. The three Danish officials accompanying him consulted the Danish embassy and were told to fly back to Copenhagen with Abdullah that same day. At this moment an intelligence service employee recognized Abdullah. The employee had seen a segment by the PKK station Roj-TV in which Abdullah had appeared as a spokesman for those on hunger strike in September 2010. At that time Kurdish refugees living in Denmark had protested against their pending deportations to Syria. The intelligence service employee took Abdullah to his office and accused him of spreading false information about Syria abroad. Abdullah denied this and claimed that he had been mistaken for someone else; after all, it had just been determined that he was not a Syrian citizen. According to Abdullah’s statement to KurdWatch, he was then severely beaten on his back with cables and was forced to sign a paper stating that he would not try to enter Syria again. He was eventually released and flew back to Copenhagen the same day with the Danish officials. After arriving in Denmark, Abdullah informed the Danish police about the torture he had suffered. The torture was substantiated by commensurate marks on his back.

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