Friday, August 17, 2007

Ali Reza Panah

Ali Reza Panah has been detained without charge or trial in Mount Eden Prison for almost two years now. Like Thomas Yadegary, he is an Iranian refugee and a convert to Christianiy. Like Yadegary, he fears persecution as an apostate if forced to return to his native country, and so has refused to apply for the travel documents necessary to deport him. As a result, he has been detained under a warrant of commitment, and will be detained indefinitely until he agrees to sign his own death warrant.

Panah is currently on hunger strike protesting his indefinite detention. After 35 days, he is reportedly emaciated and on the verge of death. If it continues, there is every likelihood that he will die. New Zealand's Anglican Archbishops are appealing to the Minister of Immigration David Cunliffe to show some mercy and grant Panah residency. They have set up a petition for members of the public to show their support. You can sign it here.