Judge asks Yezidi man to speak Kurdish to prove Syrian nationality

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — An asylum case in Germany hinges on whether a family are Kurds from Syria, and the father’s claim that they were persecuted Yezidis.

“[The judge] said that he has no doubt that the plaintiff is a Yezidi, but ‘cannot rule out doubt’ whether he is from Syria,” the German daily Die Welt reported on Sunday.


“Asis S,” as he is identified by court records, is a 32-year-old in an administrative court in Munster. He, his wife and two children entered Germany in September 2014, saying they had arrived from the Ukraine.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) confirmed the application for asylum in March 2015 in Nurmburg.


The BAMF now maintains that they are not from Syria, after being informed last year by fellow refugees that Asis had boasted how easy it was to deceive authorities.

It was revealed in court last week that Asis does not speak Arabic, and this was overlooked during the evaluation.

Asis has said that he is Yezidi, has been persecuted by extremists in Syria, according to Die Welt, and he never learned Arabic because he never went to school, and tended to goats and sheep.

An interpreter has to translate the judge’s questions from German into Kurdish and vice versa. He was asked about details of everyday life in Syria in order to corroborate his story.

The judge ordered Asis to have a recorded conversation with the interpreter. The recording is being submitted to a linguist.

For evidence of being Yezidi, his attorneys produced a letter from a Yezidi cultural society confirming that he is Yezidi.

Asis accuses the government’s representatives of having no idea of the living conditions in Syria.

“In my opinion my client has correctly answered the questions of the court and the BAMF,” Baris Yesil, the attorney for Asis, told Sputnik German in an interview.

“He could also describe his village, his neighbors well and in detail. We have birth certificates, family books from Syria and much more.”


The lawyer maintains that the language test is meaningless and an estimation of origin through language is not possible.

“These originally were Kurds from Turkey,” Yesil said, adding that most Kurds were not registered in Syria prior to the Second World War. “After the end of WWII, they remained, but the Syrian state never recognized these Kurds as Syrians, and it did not register them either.

“It was only after the war that some were registered, but most of them have remained paperless. This Kurdish family would also be one of those Kurds.”

The lawyer added that both parents are employed and the children go to school.

There are around 2,000 ethnic Kurds in the Ukraine, according to the 2001 census.

Due to the civil war that began in 2011, many Syrians fled the country using various land routes.

Germany has relatively liberal asylum laws, especially for groups who have faced persecution.

At various times Yezidis have faced persecution, most recently in 2014 with the rise ISIS that forced many to flee from their traditional homelands in the Shingal region on the Syrian border near northern Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.


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Judge asks Yezidi man to speak Kurdish to prove Syrian nationality Judge asks Yezidi man to speak Kurdish to prove Syrian nationality Reviewed by Defense Alert on 02:19:00 Rating: 5

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