The imminent dismissal of a Bangladeshi journalist mobilizes in Geneva

“An unfair and hypocritical dismissal.” At a time when we are thinking of regularizing undocumented migrants to help the economy in need of manpower, the fate of Sunil moves the Geneva left. Threatened in his country of origin, this Bangladeshi journalist who arrived in Switzerland in 2012 is described as a model of integration. Yet his applications for asylum and humanitarian permits were both refused and, after a period of tolerance, he was arrested this week and placed in detention in Frambois, in anticipation of a special flight on July 11.

This Wednesday, about fifty people demonstrated in front of the headquarters of the Council of State to demand his immediate release. A mobilization which coincides with that carried out in the Nations district in favor of the release of Julian Assange, still imprisoned in the United Kingdom and today threatened with extradition.

An “exemplary trajectory”

From exposed journalist to dishwasher at the Lipp brewery, Sunil’s journey is that of an asylum seeker who has never made waves. Persecuted because of his investigations into Islamist terrorism and his membership of the Hindu religious minority, this father, now in his fifties, had to flee his country, leaving his wife and two children behind. . He hasn’t seen them for ten years. Beyond his total financial independence, Sunil has reimbursed the 15,000 francs received from the General Hospice, has neither prosecution nor criminal record. Passionate about politics, he joined the Socialist Party.

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An “exemplary trajectory” in the eyes of his supporters who still hope to avoid the disaster scenario. While an online petition to request his release is currently collecting some 800 signatures, his counsel, Me Sophie Bobillier and Me Renuka Cavadini, will file an appeal against the recent decision of the Administrative Court of First Instance which confirmed his dismissal on Friday. The lawyers also asked the Cantonal Population Office (OCPM) to re-examine the situation. In 2016, the Secretariat for Migration (SEM) deemed the threats of which Sunil claimed to be a victim “incredible”. But above all, the lawyers expect the Geneva Council of State to invoke article 14, paragraph 2 of the law on asylum which provides for “cases of hardship” for rejected applicants who can prove “advanced integration” . Contacted, the head of the Security Department, Mauro Poggia, said he was ready to examine the situation, “out of any political pressure”, as long as new elements were presented to him. Sunil’s lawyers salute the open-mindedness of the Council of State and hope that the exceptional situation of their client will be taken into account.

“He must be able to stay”

For Me Sophie Bobillier, Sunil has an “irreproachable file” which meets the conditions for hardship cases, but also those fixed within the framework of the Papyrus regularization operation. “After ten years of life in Switzerland, the integration of my client is no longer to be proven, he must be able to stay,” she believes, again emphasizing that the detention of a “man with fragile health who does not ‘has committed no crime and just wants to save his life, is gratuitous institutional violence’.

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On the political level, elected officials are mobilizing. In Bern, State Councilors Lisa Mazzone and Carlo Sommaruga wrote to the SEM, as did National Councilor Laurence Fehlmann-Rielle. In Geneva, the socialist deputy Sylvain Thévoz, meanwhile, submitted to the Grand Council an urgent written question and a resolution for which his party will request urgency on Thursday in plenary. “We expect the Council of State to position itself and explain the reasons for this dismissal which contravenes common sense”, he argues, deploring that a model integration ends in a special flight. At the hearing that upheld his dismissal last Friday, Sunil said, “I just wish I could stay and live.”

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