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Prison Protest - Free the Iranian Five!

Prison Protest - Free the Iranian Five!

Tomorrow from 1pm to 2pm a protest will take place outside Mt Eden Prison in Auckland against the detention of five Iranians being held without charge or trial.

As far as we are aware one of the group, Amir Mohebbi, is the longest serving remand prisoner in the history of New Zealand. He has been detained in Mt Eden for close to four years now. Amir has a New Zealand wife, Maryam, and three kiwi children and his only crime is that he refuses to put his and his family's life in danger by signing documents agreeing to be deported to Iran.

His children are Monica (7), Milad (5) and Merila (3). Littlest Merila has never known a father who is not in jail. These kids just can't understand and neither can we.

Immigration Minister David Cunliffe wants to deport Amir and deprive these kiwi children of their father.

All these Iranians fear for their lives if they are deported to Iran - some for political and others for religious reasons. At least one is a Christian convert who rightly fears for his life in Iran. Groups such as Amnesty International agree that people in this situation should be given temporary visas until it is safe for them to return to Iran. Labour refuses to consider this.

Others in this group are in fear of their lives for political reasons relating to their opposition to the Islamic policies of the Iranian government.

These are real people with real New Zealand lives.

Ali Reza Pahan's employer Bruce, strongly supports Ali's desire to remain in New Zealand. "He is a good man and a very good worker".

Fardien Nouriyan has a wife Leila and step-daugher Sahel (15). He has been in New Zealand for 9 years, married for 8 years and in prison for 16 months now. Cunliffe wants to deport Fardien.

It was tears all round at the last protest outside the prison last month organised by GPJA as these families struggle to understand the heartlessness of the government.

Thomas Yadegary was in a similar situation but was released on bail three months ago after a public campaign. However the government is appealing against his release to the Appeal Court.

It seems the government lacks the courage to stand up to the xenophobic policies of Winston Peters and Peter Brown of New Zealand First.

Tomorrow's protest will call on the government to give these kiwis a fair go!

The protest tomorrow is supported by many groups, including International Hope and Peace, which has been set up to support the detainees.


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