Public outcry is alleged to have broken out in Iceland, after Sunday Iserian and his family lost their asylum bid to remain in the country. They now face deportation back to Nigeria.
Their story, alleged to have been traumatic since suffering violence, poverty and threats prompted an Icelander, Sally Kristinardottir to create an online petition for the family to remain in the country.
Sunday, 32, claims he left Nigeria after an uprising between Christians and Muslims, while Joy claims she was trafficked into Italy for prostitution. Together they have 8 year old Mary whom was conceived in Libya and born in Italy.
According to Joy, after losing her mum to murder, she met a pastor at church who promised to take her abroad and get a good job in 2008.
On her way to the abroad, in Libya she met and fell in love with Sunday, became pregnant but went their separate paths into Italy. Joy said she was forced to work as a prostitute to be paying off €50 thousand debt for transportation, which she refused and was stabbed. She escaped to an Italian trafficking charity after 4 months, giving birth to Mary not long after.
Meanwhile, Sunday said, he was a driver for the leader of the PDP democratic party in Nigeria who was murdered as he drove him. According to Sunday,”they shot the man to death and then burned the car. I escaped to a nearby farm and then hid with my uncle.” This prompted an arrest warrant.
After camping in his uncle’s house for some days, members of the Boko Haram attacked the home, killed his uncle and son. Sunday flees to a nearby church where he received money to get him away from Nigeria to Libya and onwards to Italy.
Fast forward to 2011, the couple meet again and starts living in poverty. Sunday says, “I wanted a better life so I managed to get online and found good countries to live in via Google”. Sunday saves up enough money, and moves the family to Iceland where they applied for asylum and received housing.
The couple had valid Italian documents which expired in Iceland. Sunday and Joy claimed they were scared for their lives and were unable to eat. Joy claims she is receiving death threats and suffering health issues from her prostitution days.
Their application was refused by both the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration and Immigration and Asylum appeals board in Iceland.
The refusal was on the basis that Sunday’s story lacks credibility and Joy’s trafficking and prostituion story were 10 years old, so unlikely to be receiving threats to date.
The couple have now brought forward their child as priority with Sunday stating, “I’m a dead man if I go back to Nigeria, but this isn’t about me, it’s about my daughter. I want her to have a chance of a better life,”.
They await a meeting with the Icelandic ombudsman for children.