Iranian man starts new life after seven years of legal limbo

After his original deportation order is overruled, Elias Karkavandi can now return to Danish society

An Iranian man is free to work and marry after the Copenhagen City Court decided to lift a deportation conviction from 2005 when he was found guilty of working as a lookout for drug dealers in Christiania.

Elias Karkavandi, 43, was supposed to be deported after finishing his 18-month prison sentence, but it was suspended indefinitely because he could face reprisals in Iran.

After an application for asylum fell through, Karkavandi was placed under a regimen called ‘tålt ophold’, in which he was forced to remain at the Sandholm Asylum Centre and report to the police three times a week. He was also not allowed to work or marry.

READ MORE: Supreme Court: Deportee's freedom of movement violated

Human riots violated
In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the demands of tålt ophold were not proportional to Karkavandi's crime and violated his right to free movement under the European Convention on Human Rights.

He was allowed to move out of the asylum centre and only report to the police once a week, but his deportation conviction meant that he still could not work or marry.

But on Tuesday, Copenhagen City Court struck down the deportation conviction, allowing him to return to Danish society as an ordinary resident.

“I am super happy and relieved,” Karkavandi told Information newspaper. “A ten year fight, and seven years on tålt ophold, has come to an end. I can now finally be a member of society.”

READ MORE: Rights of failed deportees heard at Supreme Court

Return to society
According to Information, the court struck down Karkavandi's deportation conviction because his crime was not severe, because he had lived in Denmark for 20 years without any connection to his home country, and because it hadn’t been possible to deport him since 2005.

“It’s great that both the Supreme Court and Copenhagen City Court agree that there is a limit to how long people can be expected to live on tålt ophold,” Karkavandi’s lawyer, Christian Dahlager, told Information.

Dahlager encouraged the government to change the law to include a clear limit to the length of time a person can be forced to live under the restrictive regimen.

According to Information, in May there were 60 people living in Denmark under tålt ophold.




  • Denmark warns Russian hybrid attacks likely at major democracy summit

    Denmark warns Russian hybrid attacks likely at major democracy summit

    Experts and authorities say Russian sabotage and cyber attacks are “very likely” at the major Danish politics and democracy summit, Folkemødet, on the Baltic-Sea island of Bornholm this week.

  • Danish government will invest billions and remove burdens for entrepreneurs

    Danish government will invest billions and remove burdens for entrepreneurs

    The government has defined five areas aiming to create a world class environment for entrepreneurs in Denmark: Better access to capital, fewer burdens and less hassle, more talent must be cultivated, more knowledge-based entrepreneurial companies and more entrepreneurs throughout Denmark.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • International inclusion in Copenhagen: Insights from Culture and Leisure Mayor Mia Nyegaard

    International inclusion in Copenhagen: Insights from Culture and Leisure Mayor Mia Nyegaard

    Over 130,000 internationals live in Copenhagen. Here, the city’s Culture and Leisure Mayor Mia Nyegaard outlines how the municipality supports inclusion n the Danish capital.

  • 13 musicians go public on sexism and misconduct in Danish music industry

    13 musicians go public on sexism and misconduct in Danish music industry

    In a new documentary, 13 female musicians share their testimonies of unwanted touching, verbal and text-message harassment, everyday workplace sexism, and exploitation in the Danish music industry. 150 further interviews and several industry studies corroborate their experiences.

  • Late night enigma

    Late night enigma

    After many late recording sessions in Frederiksberg, I often found myself walking down Falkoner Alle at night. I would notice a particular shop front with all its lights on. What was this place?