BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 18:49 GMT
Iraqis who left: Mohammed
I paid $15,000 to an Iraqi Kurd to drive me to Sweden, and I've been here six months. I'm trying to get permission to stay.

Age: 30
Lives: Norrkoping, Sweden
Status: applying for asylum

I left Iraq in September last year and went by car to Syria. There, I met this Iraqi Kurd who offered to drive me to Sweden from Turkey for the fee.

So, I flew to Turkey. He met me in my hotel and we then drove all the way to Sweden in his BMW.

We drove through Greece, took a boat to Italy, then drove through Germany, Austria, Denmark and into Sweden.

I was sitting next to him in the front passenger seat all the way. He must have had a good relationship with the border guards because they didn't even search my bags. I got through without any papers.

When I arrived in Sweden, I went straight to immigration.

I don't know how long I'll have to wait to find out if I can stay. I'm getting about $200-300 every month from the Swedish government to survive on.

I am living with my friend who has been here for more than a year. He's just got his permit to stay.

He is trying to learn Swedish in a government-run school. It's a good system, but it takes a long time. I can't really survive on the $300 dollars - and I cannot do anything without this permit.

The Swedes are friendly people, but there are too many Iraqis here. Everyone wants to be in Iraq, your own country is best. But there is no future there. I cannot live in my home, or go anywhere.


I worked for Time magazine for three years. First I was a photographer, then I became a bodyguard.

I am from the same tribe as Saddam Hussein, my childhood was spent in Tikrit. All this means I can't go back.

I told all this to the authorities here. Too many people get permission to stay and they don't deserve it.

Return to panel

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific