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Deportation could spell death

ICC Note

“I can’t believe this, that this could happen in New Zealand – one of the most democratic countries in the world,”

By Hayden Donnell

Friday, 07 March 2008 Iran (North Shore Times)-Deportation could mean death for Bahareh Moradi – Immigration New Zealand is ordering the 25-year-old Iranian Christian back to Iran within the next two weeks.

It is refusing to wait for a High Court judicial review of her appeal for refugee status, or for the Iranian embassy to issue her a passport.

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Converting to Christianity is – under Sharia law – an offence punishable by death.

“I can’t believe this, that this could happen in New Zealand – one of the most democratic countries in the world,” says Mr Moradi, a Birkenhead resident.

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She appealed that decision to the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, with the support of her family and her pastor.

That was denied in December 2007 in a decision that called her conversion to Christianity into question.

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“I do not understand why they would not wait even for her to get a passport,” says Mr Moradi.

“This way she can’t go to any countries except for Iran .”

Rinny Westra is Miss Moradi and Mr Moradi’s pastor at St Aiden’s Presbyterian Church in Birkenhead .

He testified to the genuineness of her conversion at her first appeal and is protesting her deportation orders.

“She’s a Christian and her life is in danger if she goes back.

“There seems to be something very negative towards Iranian Christians.”

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