Having to starve to live
After 53 days on a hunger strike, Ali Reza Panah, the Iranian refugee detained without trial for 20 months has finally been granted bail. He has been denied refugee status after converting to Christianity and is to live with an Anglican Church vicar. Yet he may still be deported even though has already been sentenced to death by the Iranian Government.
Interesting, though the reasons for granting bail. The Labour Department says there are "exceptional circumstances" to his release. Namely his state of health, Iran's refusal to accept its citizens from other countries unless they sign applications for a passport or travel documents, and the length of time in jail.
Now is the only reason the other two Iranian Christian converts are not similarly released is because they are not on a hunger strike and will not die on New Zealand's doorstep?
If you're interested, this week's Salient has a good feature on Ali Panah, noting that he was recently rushed to hospital in a critical condition, and talk of him being deported to a third country is in effect a route back to Iran, and that Immigration Minister David Cunliffe is a member of Amnesty International, which is one of several organisations campaigning for Panah to be granted a temporary visa.