News

2016.04.07 10:24

Afghan refugee arrives in Lithuania

Algirdas Acus 2016.04.07 10:24

The Afghan asylum seeker landed in Lithuania on Wednesday evening after reaching out to the president for help on YouTube and securing a temporary visa that paves the way for asylum.

The Afghan asylum seeker landed in Lithuania on Wednesday evening after reaching out to the president for help on YouTube and securing a temporary visa that paves the way for asylum.

Until 2013, 22-year-old Abdul Basir worked as an interpreter for the Lithuanian militaries in Afghanistan, where they participated in NATO mission ISAF. After Lithuanian forces left the central province of Ghor, Basir received several threatening letters, prompting to set out on a two-month journey that cost him around 5,700 Euros.

‘I asked more than once to send me to Lithuania, but they said there is no such opportunity’, Abdul said at the airport explaining how he has finally ended up in a refugee centre at the Greece-Macedonian border.

At the camp, he was interviewed by journalist Josh Friedman who recorded Basir's address in Lithuanian language, added English subtitles and uploaded the video on Youtube with the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhGRM...

In the video, Basir said 'he would like to ask the Lithuanian President and the Lithuanian people to help him get out of here and get to Lithuania.'

Officers of the Lithuanian Army and Ministry of Defence recognized Basir, and Lithuania granted him a five-day visa so that he could apply for asylum for himself, his wife and their two-year-old daughter, who are still in Afghanistan. Basir has asked for asylum in the airport, just after landing in Lithuania.

So far, Lithuania has agreed to admit 1,105 migrants, over two years, under an EU plan to resettle asylum seekers. Basir does not belong to the resettlement plan, so he was admitted separately.

For more details on this story, see the item from 04-02, LT refugee plea.

SHOTLIST

Basir surrounded by journalists at the airport

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

ABDUL BASIR JOUSUSI, asylum seeker from Afghanistan:
They did threaten me. I worked with Lithuanians, and when they finished their mission, the Taliban began to push me about my work with ISAF. I received a threatening letter, where they say they will kill me, and so on.

2013 Archive, Lithuanian soldiers in Afghanistan, Ghor province

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

ABDUL BASIR JOUSUSI, Asylum seeker from Afghanistan:
I asked a couple of times to send me to Lithuania, but they said there is no such opportunity. I asked, why?  After all, I speak Lithuanian, and I worked with Lithuanians eight years. Why they can’t send me to Lithuania?

Basir leaving the airport

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

RŪTA GERIKIENĖ, representative of the Lithuanian Migration Department:
We’ll consider the asylum application under the standard procedure, like in case of other asylum seekers, which involves inquiries and interview.

April 2, officer from Ministry of Defence watching Basir's address on Youtube