ASYLUM SEEKERS REACH DAY 32 OF HUNGER STRIKE & TAKE PROTEST TO HOME OFFICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/5/11
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- Iranian pro-democracy activists refused asylum in UK reach day 32 of hunger strike against deportation
- Some of the men have become seriously ill, unable to walk and urinating blood
- Joined by supporters, they will take their protest to the Home Office in Westminster tomorrow from 2pm
Six Iranian pro-democracy activists who have been refused asylum in the UK despite overwhelming evidence of brutal torture for their beliefs will take their protest to the Home Office tomorrow afternoon as they reach day 32 of their hunger strike. Four of the six men, including a 17-year old boy, have sewn their lips shut, saying they fear far worse if forcibly returned to Iran.
They will be leaving their protest camps outside UKBA's headquarters in Croydon and Amnesty International's offices Clerkenwell, and will march with supporters from Parliament Square at 2pm to the Home Office in Westminster. They invite journalists to attend.
Activists Ahmad Sadeghi Pour, Morteza Bayat, Keyvan Bahari, Kiarash Bahari, Mahyar Meyari and Mehran Meyari were tortured and imprisoned for their involvement in protests against the Iranian regime. Yet powerful evidence of this treatment, including torture wounds and
newspaper clippings identifying them as dissidents, was ignored, which the men and their supporters say is symptomatic of a systematic policy of disbelief at the UK Border Agency to keep the numbers of those granted leave to remain low.
Yet the men also wish to highlight the contradiction in government policy on the issue of democracy in Iran; while government rhetoric indicates a support for the democracy movement in that country, according to the Home Office 1,645 Iranian asylum applicants were refused leave to remain from a total of 1,870 applications last year.