Iranian refugees in Holland released from detention


Western Europe


Refugees at the accommodation in Zeist. Photo ANP, Remko de Waal

The Christian family from Iran that had been detained in the Netherlands since early September is released again. They will move from the detention centre to a regular refugee accommodation. The Dutch immigration service will reconsider their case.

Pastor Marco Buitenhuis from the congregation to which the family belongs, and their lawyer, Lineke Blijdorp, confirmed on Wednesday that the family is free again. That is reported by the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad.

The Iranian couple and their nine-year-old daughter were arrested at a refugee accommodation and locked up in a detention centre in the Dutch town of Zeist. On September 13, they were to be sent back to Iran as their asylum request was rejected.

After the media highlighted the issue, counsel Blijdorp took over the case from the previous family lawyer. She submitted a new request for asylum, arguing that the first application was incomplete. As a result, the family had a renewed conversation with the Dutch immigration service, Blijdorp says.

Even though the immigration service initially intended to reject the renewed request again, immigration officers promised to reconsider the case. This can take up to six months.

Because the procedure is now a prolonged asylum procedure, the family is allowed to leave the detention centre in Zeist. It is not yet clear where they will move to, Blijdorp says.


The family's father became a Christian before he fled to the Netherlands in 2018. The mother and daughter were baptised in 2019. The family has lived in several refugee accommodations. They were part of the Reformed Church Liberated in Noordbergum. The congregation followed their case closely. Regularly, members met to pray for the family. In October, church members started a petition to request asylum for the family. More than 1,000 people have signed it. Also, the Christian primary school that daughter Anisa attended held a vigil in the playground at school.



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