An Iranian woman, deported after her asylum application was rejected by Norwegian authorities, landed back in Norway on Friday after allegedly being subjected to the punishment she’d feared when she fled Iran in 2009.
Leila Bayat had claimed all along that she had sought asylum in Norway back in 2009 because she faced a sentence of 80 lashes in Iran for drinking alcohol. State broadcaster NRK has reported that after a series of rejections and appeals, Bayat was sent back to Iran in March of this year.
The Norwegian Embassy in Teheran now backs her claims of both the eight-year-old sentence and that it was actually carried out after she’d been returned to Iran. She had sent photos of scars on her back, allegedly from the lashings, to her partner and family in Norway.
NRK reported that the Norwegian Embassy carried out its own investigation of her claims and documentation and determined, unlike officials at Norwegian immigration agency UDI and its appeals board UNE, that they were genuine. Only then did UNE agree that Bayat could return to Norway to testify on her own behalf and clarify her case,
Bayat’s lawyer in Norway, Preven Kløvfjell, worked secretly with the embassy to ensure her safe passage back to Norway and TV2 reported that she landed in Oslo Friday morning. Kløvfjell claims she should have been granted asylum when she first arrived in Oslo, in 2009, and that it was a “scandal” that she was deported.
UNE has still not granted her residence permission in Norway, however. “Now we hope UNE will handle her case quickly, so that she can avoid further uncertainty,” Kløvfjell told NRK. Her partner, who lives in Steinkjer, was on his way to Oslo Friday and hoped he’d be able to bring her home to Steinkjer as soon as possible.