Second frostbitten asylum seeker granted refugee status in Winnipeg
Published Tuesday, June 13, 2017 4:22PM CST Last Updated Tuesday, June 13, 2017 6:06PM CST
A second man who lost his fingers to extreme frostbite after crossing the border near Emerson has won the right to stay in Canada as a refugee.
Razak Iyal, 34, appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada Tuesday.
Iyal’s lawyer Bashir Khan tells CTV News “Razak won”. Khan said when the decision was made there was a loud scream and tears. He said Iyal “needed to be hugged by three observers in the room”.
Iyal crossed the border with Seidu Mohammed, 24, on Dec. 24, 2016 to seek asylum in Canada. Iyal said he cannot return to his home country in fear of political persecution. Mohammed said he cannot return to Ghana because of his sexual orientation. He was granted refugee status May 17.
READ MORE: Asylum seekers who lost fingers to frostbite share struggles of recovery
Iyal said he is grateful to be able to stay in Canada and hopes to become a successful businessman here like he was back home in Ghana.
"I'm happy being here, being accepted, and having lost my fingers, than to go back home and losing all my life," he said.
Iyal lost eight fingers and a thumb from the trek through the snow to cross the border into Manitoba. Mohammed lost all 8 fingers and both thumbs.
The men previously told CTV News they don’t regret the crossing, and are thankful to everyone who has helped them in Manitoba during their struggle.