An Iranian deportee, who has been on hunger strike at Campsfield Detention Centre, was thrown a last-minute lifeline after his application for judicial review was accepted.
Today, he has been given bail and will return to his home in Warrington. But just one week ago, until lawyers succeeded in delaying his deportation, he was due to be flown back to Tehran. Two previous appeals had failed. Campaigners are now hoping that the High Court will recognise Shahin’s claim for refugee status.
Shahin Pasbakhsh, 36, faces death by stoning in Iran after having had an affair with a married woman – a capital offence under Iran’s laws. Shahin could also face the death sentence because of his conversion to Christianity in Britain.
After fleeing from Iran to the UK in 1999, Shahin lived in Warrington, where he won the praise of North Cheshire Hospitals for his work as a support assistant at Warrington General Hospital. But on 9 December 2002 he was arrested and imprisoned at Campsfield where he began a hunger strike in protest. He has since been admitted to hospital, complaining of pains in his chest and difficulty in standing.
Saeed Arman, UK director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugeees, said: ‘Shahin Pasbakhsh has a well-founded fear of persecution in Iran. He will face an immediate threat to his life and liberty from the authorities there should he be deported. Removal of Mr. Pasbakhsh would be a serious error of judgment that could cost him his life.’
In the past three months, forty people have been publicly hanged in Iran, a man and a woman have been stoned to death and scores of young people have been flogged, according to the International Federation of Iranian Refugees.