In Iran, Zahrieh and Alireza were both political activists. Alireza had been imprisoned and tortured for his trade union activities. On being conditionally released, Alireza received death threats from his employers. Consequently the family fled Iran, and in August 2004, they claimed asylum in the UK.
Good news for the Rahimi family – they received leave to stay in Britain. The threat of deportation to Iran to face further imprisonment, torture or the death they were threatened for ordinary trade union organisation has been lifted from them, after nearly 4 years in limbo here. May 08.
“How can we thank you all very much for your strong support. Actually it is your support which win. This campaign was really a new experience for us that how we can unite together and stand against inhumanity in the world when we are from different countries and different cultures. I will never forgot the voices and letters which gave us strength to be strong in terrible situation. This all your hard work result which is really grateful for us.“
Lots of love , Navid , Zahrieh and Ali
They are thankful for all the support they have received here from the Anti-Racist Campaign (ARC) that have backed their case from the beginning and provided them legal support, Ken Purchase MP and the trade unions of Wolverhampton.
They have settled well here, Navid is a star pupil at his school. Ali continues two voluntary jobs and Zahrieh is involved in writers` groups. They ALL have got involved in political activity in support of asylum seekers, immigration campaigns as well as all the events and activities of Wolverhampton TUC.
They now face further problems as they will be evicted from their home in the next few days to a couple of weeks as it is NASS accommodation and they are no longer asylum seekers. They will have to present themselves as homeless and go in a hostel before council accommodation can be found.
How small a cage is for a bird!
How boring a fish bowl is for a fish !
How scary and dark a grave is for a living and breathing boy!
How ugly detention is for a child !
Hand cuffs, iron locks, closed doors, fences
I was just six years old.
I felt great sorrow, as I had been doing very well at school And they didn`t permit me to go to school
when they took me to Yarlswood prison
For what crime? I don`t know.
We came from a far land
with exhausted feet,
to this strange land
I want to smell calming flowers,
I want to search for secure moments,
I wish that I could fly!
by Navid Rahimi. Navid spent 32 days in detentiion at Yarl`s Wood IRC
The Rahimi Family, Zorieh, Alireza and their five-year old son Navid, faced immanent deportation back to Iran to imprisonment, torture and possible execution. The family are living in Wolverhampton with Navid attending a local school.
Campaign Supporters: WB&D TUC, Ken Purchase MP, UNISON General, UNISON Black Members, FBU (Fire Brigade Union) Region No.7, B`ham TUC, AMICUS Region, B`ham Association of NUT (National Union of Teachers) B“ham Association of NASUWT (National Association of School Masters and Union of Women Teachers).
Wolverhampton City Council Leader Roger Lawrence Birmingham, Anti-Racist Campaign, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, ASIRT (Asylum Support and Immigration Resource Team), Fr. Eamonn Corduff, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Wolverhampton, Fr. Kelly, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Catholic Church, Wolverhampton,
TORTURE- During his incarceration Alireza was repeatedly beaten and tortured. On his conditional release Alireza worked as a mechanical engineer in a petrol refinery.
DEATH THREAT ¬ As a result of representing his fellow workers following non-payment of wages, his employers issued him with a death threat. The family fled and went into hiding.
ASYLUM- On August 17th. 2004, Alireza, Zohrieh and Navid arrived in the UK and applied for asylum. After eight days they were released and settled in Wednesfield. In November 2004 their asylum claim was refused. At their appeal there was no interpreter for communication between the family and their solicitor. Their case was dismissed. Navid settled in well at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School.
DAWN RAID- Six months later, at 6am. On Monday 16th May 2005, officers entered their home and informed them that they were being deported to Iran. They were taken to the government’s immigration removal centre, Yarls Wood.
HUNGER STRIKE- In protest at their situation the family, including six year old Navid, went on hunger strike. After 24 hours Navid was suffering severe stomach cramps and could not continue. After eight days Alireza came off the hunger strike as he had kidney stones. Zorieh continued her hunger strike for a total of 28 days.
NAVID- Their son Navid became nervous and anxious at the sight of his mothers’ mental and physical deterioration, believing he was in some – way responsible for his parent’s condition. After 32 days detention Zorieh and Navid were released after his head teacher and a parish priest agreed to stand surety for them. The following day Navid was happily back at school and by the end of term he had caught up with all his studies. Alireza was released some days later.
RAIDED AGAIN!- On July 25th at 6.00 am police removed the family from their home and, took them directly to Heathrow airport. They were placed on a flight to Iran. Once on the plane Zorieh put up a struggle, which resulted in the pilot refusing to proceed with the flight, and they were taken off the plane.
Zoriah and Navid returned to Wolverhampton with Alireza being released some weeks later on bail.
BREAK DOWN- In September 05 Zorieh suffered a complete mental breakdown and was admitted to the Penn Psychiatric Hospital as an inpatient.
IRAN- In August 2005 Amnesty International continued to document serious human rights violations including detention of human rights defenders …, unfair trials, torture and mistreatment in detention, deaths in custody and the application of the death penalty.
Because of Alirezah and Zorieha`s political activities, which are critical of the Iranian dictatorship their lives and the life of their six year old son Navid will be in danger should they be forced to return to Iran. We believe that Britain has an obligation to accept and assist all refugees and that the Rahimis should be allowed to stay.