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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Asylum seeker brings case against deportation to Downing Street
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¬†Church people were among hundreds of supporters who signed a petition delivered to Prime Minister Tony Blair to keep an Iranian asylum seeker ≠ Afshin Azizian - from being deported. The petition was delivered to Downing Street on 12 July, marking the culmination of a two-year campaign by the Hampstead-based Ham&High newspaper to seek justice for the 37-year-old. Mr Azizian faces the threat of deportation, but meanwhile is not allowed to work or claim benefits. More than 1,000 people put their names to the petition requesting permission for Mr Azizian, who has been living in the UK for 11 years, to stay in the country on compassionate grounds. The package ≠ addressed to Tony Blair and to Immigration Minister Liam Byrne- included the petition, a personal statement by Mr Azizian and a poem written by one of his friends. Mr Azizian fled Iran in 1995, after being tortured by the regime there and fearing execution. It took five years for the Home Office to reject his initial claim and four years of failed appeal hearings followed. He has experienced eviction, homeless and mental trauma, and being admitted to hospital suffering from malnutrition and exhaustion. "It has been a good day and lots more people have listened to my story" Mr Azizian said after the event. He thanked the Ham&High newspaper for supporting him; also the Columban Missionary Society, which has provided him with a home in its Hampstead house for the past year, and the congregation of St. Andrew's United Reformed Church in Frognal. The protest was attended by Fr Frank Nally, a Columban missionary, and Revd Jonathan Dean of St Andrew's. "When he came to us a year ago he was psychologically affected, had short term memory problems and was traumatised" said Fr Nally. "There should be an amnesty so that the Home Office can clear up the mess it has created" he added. "I think it is very important that an individual case like this is brought to the attention of the Prime Minister" commented Revd Dean. "The people here today know that this is a just case and that there is no question that Afshin has been through suffering in Iran and that has continued here" he said; "we are flabbergasted the people in power can't see this". On the day of the protest, Liam Byrne MP, Minister for Immigration, ruled out an amnesty for illegal immigrants in the UK. E-mail support can be sent to Mr Azizian on: or to Matt Eley of the Ham&High newspaper: See also: ICN 17 July 2006 Afshin Azizian: My Story
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