Friday, March 19, 2010

Amir Sharifi

Amir Sharifi, a national of Iran and resident of Bolton since September 2008, is currently detained in Harmondsworth IRC and due to be forcibly removed form the UK to Iran on British Airways flight BA7531/BD931 direct to Tehran, at 18.30 on Sunday, 21st March, 2010.

What you can do to help:

1) Email/Phone Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer British Airways and urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Amir Sharifi. Please download AmirSharifiBA.doc. You can copy, amend or write your own version - if you do please include all the following details: Please do not remove, Amir Sharifi due to be forcibly removed form the UK to Iran on British Airways flight BA7531/BD931 direct to Tehran, at 18.30 on Sunday, 21st March, 2010.

Email: willie.walsh@ba.com

Customer service British Airways Customer Relations


Customer Relations phone: 0844 493 0 787 Monday-Friday 08:00-18:30 (hold line till operator answers)

2) Email/Fax, Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Amir Sharifi, be granted protection in the UK. Download "model letter" AmirSharifiAJ.doc which you can copy/amend/write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include Amir's HO ref S1406763 )

Fax: 020 8760 3132(00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)

Emails: Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk
CITTO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk


Please notify the Campaign of an Emails/faxes sent:
Friends of Amir Sharifi - nick.mendes@btinternet.com

Backgrouond: On Tuesday, 2nd February, Amir went to Dallas Court Reporting Centre in Manchester, was arrested and subsequently taken to Kidlington IRC. He was due to be deported on Friday, 5th February, but the deportation was stayed at the 11th hour when a court injunction was obtained. He was then moved to Oakington IRC.

On 22nd February Amir was released on bail at a hearing at Taylor Court IAC, London, on condition he resided at 40 Church Lane, Westhoughton, reported weekly to Dallas Court, and presented himself to the Chief Immigration Officer there on 24th March.
On Wednesday, 3rd March, Amir went to Dallas Court, was rearrested and subsequently taken to Oakington IRC. He was due to be deported on Friday, 3rd March, but the deportation was not enforced because of court proceedings scheduled for Monday, 8th March. He was then moved to Harmondsworth IRC.

On Tuesday, 9th March, Amir was taken to Heathrow in anticipation of an adverse judgement and enforcement of removal to Tehran at 18.30 on flight BA7531 / BD931. He was interviewed prior to the flight but declined to sign a statement that he was returning to Iran of his own free will. He was then moved to Harmondsworth IRC.

Amir is a Christian convert from Islam. He first learned about Christianity through an underground church in Tehran, wanted to find out more and so came to the UK on a student visa in 2007. He applied for asylum in August 2008, before expiry of his visa, since he had become convinced of the truth of Christianity and had become a Christian. He was baptised by the Jesus Fellowship Church in August 2008. His asylum application has been refused, seemingly on the grounds that his Christian faith is not genuine but a contrivance in order to gain asylum in the UK. Such a conclusion is unjustifiable given a knowledge of Amir and his lifestyle, and could not be further from the truth.

U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in 2009: Iran
The government's poor human rights record degenerated during the year, particularly after the disputed June presidential elections. The government severely limited citizens' right to peacefully change their government through free and fair elections. The government executed numerous persons for criminal convictions as juveniles and after unfair trials. Security forces were implicated in custodial deaths and the killings of election protesters and committed other acts of politically motivated violence, including torture, beatings, and rape. The government administered severe officially sanctioned punishments, including death by stoning, amputation, and flogging. Vigilante groups with ties to the government committed acts of violence. Authorities held political prisoners and intensified a crackdown against women's rights reformers, ethnic minority rights activists, student activists, and religious minorities. There was a lack of judicial independence and of fair public trials. The government severely restricted the right to privacy and civil liberties, including freedoms of speech and the press, assembly, association, and movement; it placed severe restrictions on freedom of religion.
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136068.htm

U.S. Report on International Religious Freedom Iran 2009
During the reporting period, respect for religious freedom in the country continued to deteriorate. Government rhetoric and actions created a threatening atmosphere for nearly all non-Shi'a religious groups, most notably for Baha'is, as well as Sufi Muslims, evangelical Christians, and members of the Jewish community. Reports of government imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on religious beliefs continued during the reporting period.
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2009/127347.htm

It is clear from reports that above, non-state religions, are not free to practise their faith openly without fear of persecution and even threat of death as an apostate.

Amir deserves nothing less than to be granted his human right to freedom of religion, and to be allowed to practise his Christian faith openly without the fear of persecution. This would only be possible if he were allowed to remain in the UK.

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