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Mum who fled possible death sentence in Iran reunited with family thanks to Islington law firm

15:36 08 January 2015

Roopa Tanna, of the Islington Law Centre.

Roopa Tanna, of the Islington Law Centre.

Archant

A Kurdish mother successfully reunited with her husband and teenage son has hailed the Islington legal charity which assisted her for giving her a “new life”.

The 56-year-old mum of four, known only as Mrs B, fled to Islington because she faced a possible death sentence for her political beliefs in her native Iran.

Despite being given refugee status two months later her husband and then 16-year-old son, who had both been arrested, abused and interrogated by Iranian authorities weren’t allowed to join her.

But thanks to the Islington Law Centre, in Devonia Road, the family are now together - and a landmark case the firm won at the Court of Appeal last month means others will get more help in the same situation.

Roopa Tanna, the solicitor at Islington Law Centre who oversaw the case, said: “She wouldn’t have known how to make the application and she had no money. I did the work anyway because you can’t leave people in such terrible situations like that.”

Ms. B, speaking through an interpreter, said: “I am so thankful of Roopa and the women’s rights’ organisation that helped me to be with my family again. They have given me a new life.”

While refugees can apply for family reunion visas for spouses and children under eighteen, Ms B faced several problems which meant she required extra legal assistance.

Her son did not have a passport, there was no functioning British Embassy in Iran and she spoke almost no English.

During their time apart, her son had been forced to stop attending school, was living in hiding and was beginning to suffer from symptoms of mental illness.

Islington Law Centre applied for legal aid twice to assist with Ms B’s case and were refused in both August 2013 and February 2014.

Ms B’s case was one of six others which were examined by judges and on December 13, last year the Court of Appeal declared that exceptional legal funding should be accessible for assistance with applications for people in similar circumstances.

Ms B also received support from the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation.

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