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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Iranian activists: evidence needed on bad treatment of refugees returned to Tehran

Protesters on "Day 53" of their hung...Image via Wikipedia
By Paul Canning

The Iranian activist website Mission Free Iran has begun compiling evidence of the arrest of asylum seekers returned to that country.

The website's wants to help asylum seekers under threat of removal.
The purpose of this post is to share documents that reflect the Islamic Republic’s intent to prosecute asylum-seekers refouled [returned] to Iran. This post will be updated as new articles become available.
We welcome additional contributions of documents reflecting regime policy towards returned political refugees, or documentation of cases in which Iranian refugees who have been forcibly returned to Iran have been arrested, detained, tortured, or executed. Establishing this literature will help activists and refugee rights organizations make the case that Iranian refugees must not be forcibly returned to Iran. Thus, whatever information is available in this regard is very important. If it is in Farsi, we will arrange for translation.

The entire text of articles is reproduced here, in English and Farsi where available.
According to Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of Iran Human Rights:
"Iranian authorities have recently signalized that Iranians who have sought asylum abroad should be charged for 'dissemination of false propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran' and punished for that. This means that seeking asylum by itself could be a reason for the Iranian authorities to subject the asylum seekers who are extradited to Iran, to persecution, imprisonment and ill-treatment."
This is similar to the stated attitude of Zimbabwean authorities, who regard seeking asylum as a sort of treason.

Several European countries have recently removed Iranian asylum seekers, claiming that it is safe to do so. Currently a group of Iranians are on hunger strike in London fighting their proposed removal.

A Kurdish asylum seeker who was extradited from Norway to Iran on 9 February 9 2011 was arrested on arrival and is in danger of torture and ill-treatment at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Norwegian authorities said that: "We have no reason to believe the asylum seeker will be subjected to persecution, ill-treatment or imprisonment upon his return to Iran.”

Last month, the Australian newspaper reported alarm amongst asylum seekers in Australia that a special court was being set up to prosecute Iranians living abroad for taking part in pro-democracy protests against the regime.

According to OMID Advocates for Human Rights, reported by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, security forces from Iran have often entered Turkey to pursue and terrorize asylum-seekers.
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