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Thomas Yadegary case in High Court this morning

Thomas Yadegary case in High Court this morning

Thomas Yadegary’s case comes to the Auckland High Court this morning for the first time as his lawyers argue for an early habeas corpus hearing and bail application. Supporters hope Thomas will not have to spend his third Xmas in jail – without charge or trial.

Thomas has been held in Mt Eden since 1 November 2004 because he refuses to sign an application for travel documents to be deported to Iran because he knows (as does anyone except David Cunliffe) his life will be in danger there.

Thomas is supported by

Amnesty International

Global Peace and Justice Auckland

Caritas

Green Party

Maori Party

National Party

United Future

Etc

Thomas is opposed by

David Cunliffe and Winston Peters

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. He is supported by the majority of MPs, a wide range of community groups and his Catholic community and Catholic bishop. (Thomas converted to Catholicism nine years ago)

ends

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