Woman who fled Iran after taking part in protests, held in Barcelona airport

Monday sees 26-year-old student's second asylum attempt on grounds of political persecution by Iranian authorities

Security checks at Barcelona's El Prat airport on August 30, 2019 (by Àlex Recolons)
Security checks at Barcelona's El Prat airport on August 30, 2019 (by Àlex Recolons) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 2, 2020 12:19 PM

A 26-year-old Iranian business student who fled Iran and tried to enter Catalonia with a false Spanish passport is being held at Barcelona airport while claiming asylum.

The woman arrived in Barcelona on February 16, saying that she was being persecuted by the Iranian authorities for taking part in November's demonstrations.

Talking to the Ara online newspaper this weekend, the woman said she had a court appearance in Iran on February 17, but instead decided to flee.

The woman had her asylum application turned down on Friday, but her family managed to gather documents needed for the process, and she will have another hearing on Monday afternoon.

Spain's home affairs ministry is the authority in charge of deciding on asylum petitions. 

One document from the Iranian prosecutor charges the woman with offenses against Islam and the Iranian republic, and accuses her of taking part in November's protests.

The woman told the newspaper that she spent all her savings (some 8,000 euros) on a false passport, but border control detected the counterfeit document on arrival in Barcelona.

Since then, she has been living in a room at the airport until her case is resolved. If her asylum application is not successful, she could be deported back to Iran. 

However, the Catalan minister for migration, Oriol Amorós, is optimistic that the woman's new application for asylum will be successful.

"With such a clear sentence that shows that the offense of which the woman is accused is freedom of expression makes one think she will be granted asylum," he said.