Abbas Amini, an asylum seeker from Iran who has stitched up his ears, eyes and lips, is continuing his protest on behalf of all asylum seekers, though the Home Office has been refused permission to appeal against the original decision to allow him indefinite leave to remain.
Amini’s protest, against the way he and other asylum seekers have been treated by the British government, began last Wednesday. Since then, he has not eaten and has not had water or any other fluid since last Thursday.
He is continuing with his protest because, as he has maintained from the beginning, he is protesting on behalf of all asylum seekers, regardless of where they are from. He has made four demands which he wants met before he is prepared to take water:
- The Home Office must review its procedures regarding refusals and appeals and its policy of challenging decisions in which asylum seekers are granted the right to remain in the UK.
- The Home Office must be more open with solicitors on how refusal decisions are made.
- The Home Office must ensure that its staff treat all asylum seekers with respect and humanity.
- People should not be removed – especially to countries like Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan – which have a history of human rights violations. The government should grant protection to asylum seekers from all countries that do not reach human rights standards.
Abbas Amini has stressed that he is continuing his protest on behalf of all asylum seekers, regardless of where they are from. ‘I think the Home Office ought to come out with a full apology, not just to me, but to all asylum seekers for the way they have treated them.’
He added: ‘When I heard the news [about his victory] I was saddened – it did not make me happy. Only when all asylum seekers facing the same problems have received a positive decision will I be happy. This is not just my problem. It is a problem for all asylum seekers.’
He said that he was not worried that his family would ask him to change his mind about taking water. ‘I spoke to them and they gave me hope and the inspiration to continue. I felt a hundred times better. They believe that if I have to die in Britain it is far better than that I am returned to Iran.’
Speaking of his life in Iran, Abbas Amini said: ‘As far as my own life went, I never had any happy times. My life in Iran has always been unhappy and difficult. The best thing I would wish for – whether I live or not – is one day to bring an end to 2,500 years of oppression and degradation [in Iran]. I hope that one day Iran can be admitted into human society. I hope one day Iran will become an example to the rest of the world.’
He said that many local people in Nottingham supported him. ‘A huge number of people fully understand us because they live in the same conditions we do.’ He was in contact with many local people who had provided much support.
Abbas’ brother, Eskandar, issued a statement today from Iran, stating that he holds the British government responsible for Abbas’ welfare and asking ‘all those who defend civil and human rights to show their support.’