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Prison protest 28 Oct in support of Yadegary

27 October 2006

Prison protest tomorrow (Saturday) in support of Thomas Yadegary

Supporters of Thomas Yadegary will gather outside Auckland’s Mt Eden prison tomorrow from 2pm to 3pm to call on the government to release him from 23 months of incarceration without trial or charge.

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

Late last month Associate Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove once again washed his hands of Thomas’s situation so his detention is due to continue indefinitely.

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)

Thomas is due to appear in court on Friday November 3rd and GPJA will join his supporters in court for his appearance.

ENDS

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