Tortured Iranians who fail UK asylum bids face deportation
Iranian victims of torture who have fled to the UK face being deported if the British government succeeds in negotiations with Tehran over failed asylum claims.
The risk stems from this summer’s thaw in relations between Iran and the West as part of the nuclear deal and the slackening of economic sanctions imposed on the theocratic state.
It could mean that hundreds of people who have fled to the UK since Iran’s 2009 crackdown on the anti-government Green Movement are forcibly repatriated despite many of them having been imprisoned and tortured by the regime.
The Foreign Office says it had made inroad in its negotiations with Tehran and, according to the Times newspaper, is “committed to making further progress.”
The charity Freedom From Torture (FFT) has warned that immigration officials increasingly tend to dismiss allegations of torture involving countries like Iran when dealing with asylum claims.
“Without a robust, fair transparent system there is a risk they will return people who have been tortured and could be tortured again on their return,” Sile Reynolds, FFT’s asylum policy adviser, told the Times.
Those who have fled Iran without proper papers are technically outlawed from returning.
“Where people establish a genuine need for protection from persecution, refuge will be granted,” the Home Office said in a statement.
“However, if people do not need our protection they are expected to leave the UK and we may remove them if they do not go voluntarily.”
The UK’s deportation policies sparked acts of resistance on Tuesday when two activists glued themselves to the gates of an immigration detention center near Heathrow Airport during a protest aimed at stopping a deportation flight from leaving.
Ten demonstrators had gathered at the gates of Colnbrook detention center after a rallying cry from Unity Centre, an anti-deportation and asylum seeker rights group, to try to halt the departure of a privately chartered flight bound for Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.