Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | 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

     


    Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

    On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


    The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
    It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


    Binoy Kampmark: Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition
    The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917... More>>


    Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

    Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

    Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
    Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


    Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
    The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>