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The Rahimi Family must stay

ASIRT | 25.10.2005 15:19 | Anti-racism | Migration | Birmingham

Alireza and Zohrieh Rahimi and their 6 year old son Navid are an Iranian family facing deportation back to Iran where they believe they face imprisonment, torture and the possibility of execution should they return. To sign the petition against their deportation, follow the link at

For the past year, the Rahimis have been settled in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton. When they lived in Iran, Alireza and Zohrieh were both active members of a baned underground pro-democracy movement, the Fedayeen e Khaiq. Alireza was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for his political activities. During his incareceration he was subject to repeated beatings and torture. Zohrieh had to move nearly 20 times in order to avoid imprisonment & torture by the regime. On his release, Alireza worked as a mechanical engineer in a petrol refinery. As a direct result of attempting to represent his fellow workers following non-payment of wages for 4 months, his employers issued him with a death threat. The family fled and went into hiding.

On August 17th 2004 the family arrived in the UK. They claimed asylum immediately. In November 2004 their claim was refused. They apealed and this was dismissed by the Adjudicator. They have twice been snatched by immigration officers for foced removal to Iran. The first attempted removal took lace at 6am on Monday 16th may 2005 when 7 police officers entered their home and informed them that they were to be deported to iran. The family were forcibly removed to the government's largest immigration removal centre, Yarl's Wood. In protest, the famly including 6 year old Navid went on hunger strike.Within 24 hours Navid was expereincing severe hunger cramps and could not continue. After 8 days, Alireza came off hunger strike due to a need to undertake surgery for kidney stones. Zorieh continued her hunger strike for 32 days.

At 6 am on July 25th 2005, the family were again removed from their home by 6 police officers and taken directly to Heathrow. They were placed on a plane to Iran via Amsterdam. Onthe plane, Zorieh put up a struggle, resulting in the pilot's refusal to proceed with the flight. The family were taken from the plane. Alireza was then placed in detention at Harmondsworth Removal Centre in Middlesex. Zorieh was free to take Navid back to Wolverhampton, but had no means by which to travel until a passing stranger took pity on the mother and child weeping at Victoria Station and offered to buy their tickets. Alireza has since been released.

Zorieh has since been submitted to Penn Hospital in Wolverhampton, suffering from mental breakdown due to the constant state of fear and anxiety expereinced by the family as the result of continued Home Office harassment. At the request of the Rahimi family, the Birmingham Anti-racist campaign (ARC) is working with the family and local supporters in Wolverhampton against their deportation.

The campaign has rasied an e-petition to Tony McNulty, Minister for Immigration, urging him to allow the Rahimi family to remain in the UK.

Please sign the petition and make it well known to everybody concerned, helping the ongoing struggle for justice for asylum seekers.

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