After the Iranian national lost his bid for refugee status in Sweden, police took him from a Migration Board (Migrationsverket) holding facility in Gävle in eastern Sweden, the local Arbetarbladet newspaper reports.
But instead of sending him back to Iran, the man was deported to neighbouring Iraq by mistake.
The man’s Swedish lawyer told the newspaper that his client was originally part of the Feili Kurd community in Iraq.
However, the man was kicked out of Iraq in the early 1980s during a mass expulsion of Feili Kurds by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who accused them of being Iranian and stripped them of their citizenship.
According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, hundreds of thousands of Feili Kurds ended up living in camps close to the Iran-Iraq border, and several thousand were eventually able to obtain Iranian citizenship.
While many Feili Kurds have returned to Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the 52-year-old man has no remaining ties to the country.
And according to the man’s lawyer, sending the 52-year-old back to Iran, from where the man fled in 2002, would put him at risk for torture and other forms of persecution.
While the 52-year-old sits in an Iraqi prison at the airport in Baghdad, the man’s lawyer has now reported police in Gävleborg and Stockholm counties to Sweden’s Parliamentary Ombudsmen (Justitieombudsmännen – JO) for botching his client’s deportation.
“The police can’t handle foreigners arbitrarily and dump them aboard in countries that are willing to accept them,” the lawyer wrote in his complaint, according to Arbetarbladet.
According to the paper, the ombudsman has decided to launch an investigation into the incident.
Attempts by The Local to reach the man's lawyer for comment on Friday were unsuccessful.