Sudanese singer faces deportation from Netherlands despite safety fears

Sudanese singer famous for 'The Voice' faces deportation from Netherlands after asylum rejected
2 min read
11 December, 2020
Mohamed al-Tayeb has been told by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) that his asylum application has been rejected.
Sudanese singer Mohamed al-Tayeb has appeared on the Arabic version of the Voice [YouTube]
Sudanese singer Mohamed al-Tayeb is facing deportation from the Netherlands back to Sudan, The Guardian reported, where his appearance on the Arabic version of singing show 'The Voice' drew him threats from security officers.

Tayeb, who has been living in the Netherlands for two years, has been told by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) that his asylum application has been rejected.

"There's no justice in this universe. I lost hope in the immigration authority and in the entire world," Tayeb said. He plans to lodge an appeal.

The INS said they believed Tayeb was not at risk if he returned to Sudan given the ouster of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir last year.

But critics accuse the Netherlands of "playing politics with anti-immigration rhetoric", The Guardian reported.

The Netherlands recently introduced a policy which will reassess the asylum claims of those from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile as "the situation in these areas has improved in recent years", according to the INS.

100 people have already been informed that their temporary residents' permits or residency permits could be reassessed.

Tayeb, who isn't from a region under reassessment, told the Guardian he is angered by the rejection.

The Sudanese singer's appearance on The Voice in 2015 catapulted him into the public eye, with more than 16 million people watching his performance.

He says his status as Sudan's most viewed singer online marked him out to the authorities. When he refused to perform at political gatherings, Sudanese intelligence officers arrested him, he says.

"They [the government] tried to manipulate me to sing for them and at their events. When I refused, they threatened me," he told the Guardian.

"I fear for my life and my freedom after threats of being detained by the militias and the security authorities, because I was arrested three times in Sudan and they threatened my mother recently," he added.

Various Dutch groups have written to the government asking them not to deport Tayeb back to Sudan.

"The government attempts to limit the argument, and they fear the far right-wing opposition," Pieter Smit, a Dutch academic researching asylum policy, told the Guardian.

Margriet Luttikhuizen, a spokesperson for the INS, said: "Sudanese applicants from Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile no longer receive subsidiary protection solely because of the general situation, ie conflict in the region. They can receive international protection or subsidiary protection on an individual basis, if they are eligible for such protection."

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