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Thomas Yadegary in Court Today Will he be released

Thomas Yadegary in Court today – Will he be released?

Thomas Yadegary will appear once more in the Auckland District Court in Albert Street today at 2.15pm where Immigration Ministry lawyers will argue for his continuing incarceration after more than 2 years in prison without charge or trial.

Supporters will gather outside the court from 1pm.

Thomas is an Iranian who is being held in prison because he refuses to sign papers which would result in him being forced to return to Iran where his life would be at risk.

Thomas’s stance is supported by:

Amnesty International

Global Peace and Justice Auckland

Green Party

National Party

United Future

Etc

Thomas is opposed by:

Labour Party

New Zealand First

Six weeks ago Associate Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove once again washed his hands of Thomas’s situation so his detention is due to continue indefinitely.

Background

Thomas came to New Zealand in 1993 and applied for refugee status. For 12 years he worked hard and was a model citizen. Despite the strong support of a wide circle of friends and his Christian community, which includes support from his Catholic bishop, his application was turned down and on 1 November 2004 he was taken into custody at Mt Eden to await deportation. He has been there since.

The government is effectively keeping him hostage in prison – to be released only if he agrees to being deported to Iran! This is the type of human rights tragedy the government has condemned in many countries around the world in a variety of contexts.

It’s ironic that as an MP, David Cunliffe wrote a strong letter (3 pages) of support for Thomas and closely argued his case to remain in New Zealand. Cunliffe himself is now the Minister of Immigration and deaf to all appeals on Thomas’s behalf.

Thomas’s continuing incarceration is a travesty of natural justice and a disgraceful abuse of human rights.

We have our own little Guantánamo Bay right here in the heart of Mount Eden.

Public support for Thomas has been growing quickly. Both the National Party and United Future are backing him to stay as is the Catholic community and Catholic bishop. (Thomas converted to Catholicism 9 years ago)

ends

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