Photo Essay: Protest Against Imprisonment Of Thomas Hossein Yadegary
Global Peace and Justice Auckland have held a protest against the imprisonment of Thomas Hossein in front of Auckland Central Remand Prison, Mt Eden.
Thomas Hossein Yadegary is an Iranian man who has been in New Zealand for about twelve years. He came to this country as a political asylum seeker in 1993 and asked for help from our government. He worked throughout all these years and paid his taxes and now he sits in prison in Auckland, his fate remains beyond his control.
Happier Times: Thomas Hossein Yadegary (centre) with former United States president Bill Clinton.
Over these years he has spent over $60,000 on legal fees in order to gain residency, only to find the doors of a free life in New Zealand closed on him after all this time. He waited all this long twelve years and yet there was no answer.
For more information and a character reference by a Scoop reader and former work colleague of Thomas' see below…
A group gathered outside Auckland Central Remand Prison, Mt Eden to protest the ongoing imprisonment of asylum seeker Thomas Hossein Yadegary.
All Thomas' applications have now been declined and the New Zealand Immigration Service has placed him in prison awaiting deportation back to Iran. He has been held in prison from 1 November 2004.
It was such a shock to Thomas, not only to be turned down after twelve years of waiting, but also to be arrested and been taken to remand prison as if he was a danger to society. Thomas says he only wants to live in peace in New Zealand.
For these twelve years Thomas has been working hard and contributed to society by paying taxes. He has been studying hard to get his qualification as a chef and learnt English at the same time. He always has positive attitude of living in this new country. Thomas became Christian and accepted Jesus in his heart in 1997. This is an unforgivable crime under the Islamic Law in Iran and it is punishable by death. If the New Zealand Government sends him back to Iran he will be in danger of being executed because he committed apostasy.
Some organizations inside and outside New Zealand have offered their full support, such as The International Organization of Iranian Refuges.
Now behind bars Thomas has become stressed and depressed, he suffers constant headaches. He is under enormous pressure both psychologically or emotionally.
Character Reference: A Scoop Media reader wrote in to us this week after seeing a photograph of Thomas on the Scoop news site. He wrote:
"The recent article Scoop had on the website of the Iranian Thomas Hossein Yadegary being held in prison pending deportation back to Iran, caught my roving eye. The photo was instantly recognizable to me because it was of Bill Clinton when he was the US President, visiting the Katsura Restaurant at the Carlton Hotel during, I think, the APEC meetings September 1999.
"This was shortly before I joined The Carlton Hotel, and the photo was very proudly displayed, along with others of his visit, on the staff notice board of the Katsura Restaurant.
"Whenever anyone was seen viewing the abovementioned photo's, by one very excited Iranian, he would go into very great detail of the visit, and what Bill Clinton had to eat and drink. But the photo held most proud by Thomas was of him shaking hands with Bill Clinton.
"Although I did not know him personally, these actions alone, and the memories of him being tired and exhausted at the end of a long and busy shift, in one of Auckland's top restaurants, and the constant jokes and banter between him and his work colleagues, does not sound to me like the words and actions of a dangerous man.
"Thomas certainly sounds as if he is making a genuine attempt to integrate with NZ society, and it would seem an honest one.
"I do hope the NZ Government is not going to put him through the same trauma they did (and continue to do), with Ahmed Zaoui, and detain an innocent man for no reason other than conjecture and rumour."