Paraguay’s criminal court dismissed seven Syrian citizens who entered the country in March this year using fake Israeli passports.
Trial judge Oscar Delgado told The Associated Press via phone interview that out of the 11 refugees who entered the country with forged Israeli passports, only seven were dismissed as it was proved that they were deceived when entering the country while using the documents.
Peter and Ibrahim Nasia, aged 91 and 75, respectively, entered the country on March 19 with their two grandchildren Mahed Ibrahim aged 19-years-old, and his brother, aged 12-years-old (whom cannot be named because he is a minor). Suleiman Hassan aged 27-years-old, Shant Issa aged 25-years-old, and her 17-year-old brother was also with the group. They were arrested the next day at a hotel in Asunción.
Mahed told ABC Color that the police treated them with respect.
“We are looking for our family,”
“We are calm because we did nothing wrong and had no intention of doing anything wrong. We are looking for our family who are scattered around the world,” he said. He added that he is not sure if their parents— supposedly living in Germany—are even alive.
Hassan, Issa, and her younger brother were supposed to travel to Argentina on the week of their arrival in Paraguay, prior to entering Spain where they would have been met by refugee reception centers acting under the Spanish Asylum Law.
With the help of their lawyer Teddy Salgueiro Miranda, the refugees were granted freedom of movement at the first hearing, while the Syrian community covered their housing and food expenses.
Delgado said that he was recently informed that the Syrians did not mean to stay in the country for long, and plan to enter Europe a week after their arrival in Paraguay. “They (the Nasias) hope, once the dismissal is finalized, to obtain a passport to travel to Germany,” he added.
He said that the government of Paraguay will work with Israeli authorities to identify the source of fake passports.