06/30/2017, 19.29
PAKISTAN – VATICAN
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Pakistani Catholic refugee in Greece asks for pope’s help

In a letter to the pontiff, Kamran Iqbal Maseh explains how he was forced to flee his country because of his faith. Now he is in Greece, but he could be sent back to Turkey and from there to Pakistan where his life is in danger.

Lesvos (AsiaNews) – A request for help has been sent to Pope Francis to intervene on behlaf of a Pakistani Catholic refugee in Greece, who met with the Pope on the latter’s visit to Lesvos Island in April 2016.

The man could be sent sent back to Turkey and deported to his country, from which he fled, and where he fears being killed because of his faith.

Kamran Iqbal Maseh, the letter sent to Francis says, is "a Catholic from Pakistan who was discriminated against, persecuted, tortured, and forced to flee his country because of his religious convictions."

He "did not have access to a proper education and was treated as a slave in Pakistan because of his religion. His brave efforts to set up a Catholic church in his community brought him close to death when he was attacked and seriously injured. He then decided to flee his country because his life was in danger.”

“He risked dying to get to a safe place. He arrived in Lesvos after the EU-Turkey agreement. Although his persecution and trauma were obvious, he was detained for a long time in poor conditions."

His application for asylum was rejected twice. "He could be sent back to Turkey, where he could be shipped directly to Pakistan at any time. In Pakistan, there is a high risk that he will be killed."

His appeals have not moved Greek courts and he therefore faces the risk of imminent deportation to Turkey.

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