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In Sweden, Abdelmasih H. was denied citizenship because of his past in the Syrian army


Why did Abdelmasih H., the man who injured several very young children in Annecy on Thursday June 8, not obtain Swedish nationality? According to his ex-wife, questioned by Agence France-Presse, it was after a new rejection of his request for naturalization that he left the country.

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She herself obtained Swedish citizenship in June 2021, six years after she was granted a permanent residence permit. Abdelmasih H. applied for asylum in July 2013. He obtained a permanent residence permit five months later, in November. His first application for nationality was submitted in October 2017 and quickly rejected: you must have lived at least five years in Sweden to hope to be naturalized. He tried his luck again in August 2018. Getting no response, he appealed three years later in 2021. Finally, the National Office for Migration rejected his request on February 11, 2022.

According to the judgment that The world was able to obtain, the Swedish authorities justify their refusal by the fact that Abdelmasih H. affirmed, during his asylum application, that he had “served in the Syrian army from June 2011 to December 2012”.

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However, recalls the Swedish Migration Board, by virtue of a government decision dating from 2004, a candidate for naturalization “who has been active in or had a decisive influence on an organization whose activities are believed to have included systematic, widespread and flagrant abuses such as torture, murder and extrajudicial executions, cannot obtain Swedish citizenship unless ‘a specified period of time has elapsed’. This period was set at twenty-five years.

“Sergeant” and “guard”

The National Office for Migration recalls that when he applied for asylum, Abdelmasih H. said he had been “sergeant” and officiated as ” guard “ as well as “responsible for other guards” in the Syrian army. He claimed that he had been stationed in different towns, where he had made arrests, and that he had participated in combat. Later, Abdelmasih H. said he had been ” strength “ to join the Syrian army and that he wanted “to escape as quickly as possible so as not to have to die or end up in a place where [il] should hurt someone”.

But citing numerous reports from international bodies describing abuses committed by the Syrian army since 2011, the Swedish National Migration Board believes that “Government armed forces, including the Syrian army, have been guilty since March 2011 of massive and systematic human rights crimes”and that being part of it justifies a refusal of naturalization.

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