Four weeks ago Swedish Immigration Police kidnapped asylum seeker Zahid Baloch off the streets of Gothenburg and late last week deported to Norway where he has an outstanding repatriation order to Pakistan.
Zahid Baloch is a well-known human rights and socialist activist from Baluchistan in Pakistan. Zahid was leader of the Baloch Student Organisation (Azad) - an organisation that campaigns for the rights of Baloch people in Baluchistan. In 2013 the Pakistani government outlawed Azad claiming it was a terrorist organisation - a move condemned by the Asian Human Rights Commission.
In March 2014 Zahid Baloch was abducted by the Pakistani secret police. After his abduction Karima Baloch replaced Zahid as leader of Azid - she is currently seeking asylum in Canada after spending more than a year on the run in Pakistan avoiding the secret police.
Zahid was held for more than three months and repeatedly tortured. He was drugged, repeatedly beaten with a whip, suffered electric shock to his genitals, was repeatedly raped with foreign objects, his fingers, wrists and ankles were broken. Several members of his extended family (two of his uncles and three cousins) were also abducted, tortured and murdered in front of him. His wife and two children were repeatedly threatened. During his detention the UN Human Rights Commission condemned the Pakistani government for their treatment of Zahid. He was so severely beaten that the police believed they had killed him and dumped his body on the side of the road.
Zhaid then spent the next five months in hiding and being treated for his injuries. When the Pakistani police discovered he was still alive they embarked on a widespread seek and search campaign. Members of Socialist Struggle Pakistan (sister party of the Socialist Party) assisted in smuggling Zahid out of Pakistan and managed to get him to Norway.
While in Norway he suffered a heart attack directly as a result of the torture he received in Pakistan. Zahid applied for asylum in Norway but the new right-wing government made changes that basically ruled out all chances of him receiving asylum in Norway. Norway is noted for deporting asylum seekers to Pakistan. After two years in Norway members of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (sister party in Sweden of the Socialist Party) moved him to Gothenburg. This proved to be the correct decision as shortly afterwards the Norwegian government issued a deportation order against him back to Pakistan.
Shortly after his arrival in Gothenburg Zahid suffered a second heart attack as a result of the impact of torture. He suffers from a variety of serious medical conditions as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and other psychological issues. He has made several suicide attempts while facing his asylum process. Over the past two years members of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna have cared for Zahid and ensured his well-being.
Under the 'Dublin Regulations' on asylum Zahid was entitled to apply for asylum in Sweden on Friday 9 March. On 15 February he was abducted from the streets of Gothenburg by the Swedish immigration police. The abduction of Zahid is part of an intensified police search for "illegal" immigrants in Sweden in order to carry out more deportations following more right-wing anti-immigrant pronouncements from the Swedish governemnt. Against Swedish law the police failed to inform his legal representatives or the human rights commission in Sweden.
Last Saturday members of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna discovered he was being held in a detention outside Gothenburg. The manger of the Migration Board in the detention centre ruled that Zahid should not receive visits and refused to allow Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna members could not hand over his medicines. On Monday Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna organised a rally outside the detention centre and after three hours it was agreed that one member of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna could visit Zahid and bring his medication.
Johannes Lundberg described Zahid as being very frightened, shaking and looking fearful. Zahid had been suffering flashbacks of the torture after being confined in a detention cell. He was clearly suffering from severe claustrophobia. Johannes Lundberg stated that Zahid broke down several times during our two-hour long meeting in spite of feeling the tremendous support and solidarity of comrades and friends outside the detention centre. During the meeting Zahid expressed his optimism that he would be able to complete his asylum process as scheduled on Friday 9 March and asked Johannes to contact his legal representatives. Since then his legal representatives have been refused access to him.
The Pakistani authorities are fully aware of Zahid's existence and his political activity in support of asylum seekers since leaving Pakistan. His wife and children have been in hiding. His father has been abducted and tortured on several occasions by the Pakistani secret police - in particular they threatened to kill his father after Zahid spoke at a rally in Gothenburg in support of Baluchistanis seeking asylum in Sweden.
Yesterday members of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna discovered that the Swedish immigration authorities illegally deported Zahid Baloch to Norway. Zahid's legal representatives were not informed of any decision that he was to be deported - which they are legally entitled to, the police did not inform the human rights commission which they are legally obliged to do and his legal representatives were prevented from filing any legal papers to prevent his deportation. Attempts are being made to get Zahid legal representation in Norway but there is now serious concern that the Norwegian authorities will deport him before any legal challenge can be mounted.
Protests are now planned to take place this weekend at more than 50 locations around the world outside diplomatic offices of the Norwegian government. The case of Zahid Baloch is once again before the UN Human Rights Commission and every effort will be made to prevent his deportation. However, there is now a very real fear that Zahid Baloch will be deported to Pakistan where the secret police will kill him and his body will never be discovered.
The Socialist Party is appealing for all those who defend human rights and the right of asylum to contact the Norwegian embassy and demand that Zahid Baloch be returned to Sweden to complete his asylum application.