Somali activist applying for Finnish citizenship again after initial rebuff
Finnish Security Police opposed his application for naturalisation
Idiris Hassan Farah
Somali activist Idiris Hassan Farah is again applying for Finnish citizenship. The previous application made by the engineer, a resident of Vantaa, was rejected on account of a negative statement given by the Finnish Security Police (SUPO).
According to the statement, Farah’s naturalisation would pose a threat to state security and public order.
Somewhat later, SUPO allegedly attempted to recruit Farah to become the Security Police’s informant. If he had reported on the Somali community to SUPO, he would have been given money and maybe even the statement for his citizenship application would have been reconsidered.
However, Farah rejected the proposal and furthermore went public on the matter.
Farah has been living in Finland for almost 20 years. He submitted his first citizenship application in 2001.
In 2005, Farah received a negative decision from the Directorate of Immigration, currently known as the Finnish Immigration Service.
In 2007, the negative decision was overturned by the Helsinki Administrative Court.
However, the Supreme Administrative Court (KHO) ruled in favour of SUPO and the Directorate of Immigration, which is why Farah was not granted citizenship.
The contents of SUPO’s statement are secret, and have been concealed even from Farah himself.
The decision made by KHO indicates that the information given in the statement is ”part of confidential information exchange with security authorities in other countries”.
Farah says that he has no idea of why the granting of citizenship to him - a tax-paying, peace-loving father of a family - would pose a threat to anybody.
He assumes that the negative statement might have something to do with the fact that he acted as an officer in Somalia more than 20 years ago.
As Farah is again applying for citizenship, SUPO will have to evaluate whether or not his naturalisation would still pose a threat to Finland’s national security.
Farah notes that he has repeatedly tried to discuss the matter with SUPO. The last time was in 2009, when he tried to clarify the suspicions placed on him. However, those meetings have not been successful.
”My latest meeting with SUPO lasted 40 seconds. They were very angry”, Farah reports.
Farah does not dare to guess whether or not he will be granted citizenship this time.
”The greatest disadvantage is that with an alien’s passport it is extremely difficult to get a visa to many countries. Several business trips have had to be cancelled”, Farah says with some regret.
Farah’s wife and five children have all been granted Finnish citizenship.
In 2009, the Finnish Security Police (SUPO) issued 50 statements to the Finnish Immigration Service relating to those foreigners who had applied for naturalisation and Finnish citizenship.
Annually, a few negative statements are also given. Reasons for a negative statement could include some risk factors relating to, for example, terrorism or illegal espionage.
If citizenship is not granted, the applicant may submit a new application for naturalisation.
Last year, some 3,400 persons were granted Finnish citizenship by application.
The processing of applications usually takes one or two years and involves a background check from various authorities and satisfying a language requirement.
Finnish Immigration Service: Citizenship
Somali League in Finland