Court overrules Immigration Board on asylum for Iraqi family

Despite the negative decision previously from the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP), a court of law has ruled in favor of a married couple with children (citizens of Iraq), granting them asylum in Latvia, LETA newswire reported on Wednesday.

This matter dates back to late 2014, when Latvian border authorities received a petition from the Iraqi family, requesting refugee or "alternative" status in Latvia. The couple has two young children.

They explained to the authorities that they are requesting asylum due to the ongoing military conflict in their homeland and to death threats they received. The family hails from Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, and the father is/was employed at an automobile dealership. The death threats were related to the ongoing non-payment for two cars sold to a local kingpin.

Having reviewed the request and all aspects thereof, PMLP declined granting asylum to the family, because there was "no irrefutable proof of persecution."

The past summer, the Iraqis appealed the Board's decision, and in end-September, the court ruled in favor of granting them alternative status. This ruling is final.

The court had denied the four refugee status, stating that the persecution mentioned in the petition was "criminal, not political." The court in fact had questioned the story about the two sold cars and the threats.

A key factor for the judge was the information at hand about security and safety in Iraq and Kurdistan at this time.

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