Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Scoop Report: Amnesty Does U-Turn On Yadegary Case

Asylum News: Amnesty Does U-Turn On Yadegary Case – Cosgrove Informed Of New Info

By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor.

Click here for background to this issue.

Amnesty International has conducted a U-Turn on the Thomas Yadegary asylum-seeker case after discovering new information suggesting that if New Zealand deports the man, it will be in breach of its international human rights obligations.

Amnesty had said two weeks ago that it believed Mr Yadegary would be safe should he be deported back to Iran – despite him having converted to Christianity some years ago and evidence that those who had coverted from Islam to Christianity were victimised in Iran.

Amnesty has now changed its position and advises that it is unsafe for New Zealand to deport Mr Yadegary to Iran.

Amnesty International's Margaret Taylor informed Ryken and Associates' senior solicitor, Isabel Chorao (Yadegary's lawyer) by way of letter last Thursday (October 26), stating: "I wish to now advise of an update I have received today from amnesty International's Iran research team, International Secretariate, London, with regard returns of Christian converts to Iran.

"… our current position is to oppose the return of proven converts as any such return would be unsafe. With the Refugee Status Appeals Authority (RSAA) decision, which declined Mr Yadegary's refugee status, it acknowledged the genuineness of his conversion to Catholicism.

"Amnesty International believes it is not now safe for Mr Yadegary to be returned to Iran, and any such return would see New Zealand in breach of its international human rights obligations."

The letter goes on to cite a number of cases of recent incidents where converts to Christianity have been victimised in Iran and includes a concerning statement by Iran's secretary general of the Council of Guardians, Ayatollah Jannati, who said: "Human beings, apart from Muslims, are animals who roam the earth and engage in corruption."

Yadegary's lawyer followed on Friday (October 27) with a faxed letter to Associate Immigration Minister, Clayton Cosgrove, informing him that Amnesty had changed its position and issuing him a copy of the Amnesty letter. Isabel Chorao wrote: "The author of the letter, Ms Margaret Taylor, was recently seen on TV advocating the view that Christian converts were not in danger of being persecuted in Iran.

"After consulting her colleagues in various overseas missions, she has now advised that in fact recent country information suggests very strongly that Christian converts are in danger of being persecuted in Iran," Isabel Chorao wrote.

She added that since recent election of President Ahmadinejad the persecution of religious minorities in Iran had intensified. Amnesty's initial position on this case was based on out-of-date information.

The claims are supported by United States' state department information that raises concerns of abuses, violence, and victimisation against Islamists who have converted to Christianity and other faiths.

The U.S. state department 2006 report states: " There was a further deterioration of the extremely poor status of respect for religious freedom during the reporting period, most notably for Baha'is and Sufi Muslims. The country's religious minorities include Sunni and Sufi Muslims, Baha'is, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians. There were reports of imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on religious beliefs."

And added: "In March 2006 the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 60/171 expressing serious concern about the continued discrimination and human rights violations against religious minorities by the Government."

This fact is at odds to what Clayton Cosgrove told The House this month when asked why Immigration Minister David Cunliffe had lobbied for Mr Yadegary's release while an MP but had supported his deportation on becoming the minister. Mr Cosgrove said: "New Zealand relies on advice from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in respect of the appropriateness of repatriating foreign nationals to countries. There has been no advice from that organisation indicating repatriation to Iran is inappropriate ... He has legally exercised his rights. He's failed. If he chooses to remain, then he has to choose to remain in custody."

But as the United States report acknowledged that there were no reported cases of the death penalty being applied in Iran for apostasy during the reporting period, it detailed how on November 22, 2005, unidentified persons killed a man who had converted to Christianity more than ten years earlier: "He had allegedly received death threats over the past few years. Reportedly, his death was followed by repression of and threats against other Christians, including arrests of ten Christians," the US state department report stated.

A spokesperson for Clayton Cosgrove said the minister does not comment on individual cases, but confirmed she would issue a copy of this Scoop report for his attention.


Ref.

  • Yadegary Lawyer's Letter To Clayton Cosgrove 1
  • Yadegary Lawyer's Letter To Clayton Cosgrove 2
  • Amnesty's Turn-Around Letter To Yadegary's Lawyer 1
  • Amnesty's Turn-Around Letter To Yadegary's Lawyer 2
  • ENDS

    © Scoop Media

     
     
     
     
     
    Top Scoops Headlines

     

    Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

    Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

    Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

    The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

    ALSO:

    Buildup:

    Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

    It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

    ALSO:

    Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

    Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

    Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

    Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

    Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

    I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

    Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

    It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

    ALSO:


    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Top Scoops
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news