Iranian refugees on hunger strike in Exmouth Market

IRANIAN refugees who have been refused asylum in the UK have spent more than 20 days staging a hunger strike in a desperate bid to avoid deportation.

Three men from Iran have been camping in tents opposite Amnesty International next to Exmouth Market, Rosebery Avenue, Finsbury, appealing for help from charities or the Home Office.

Ahmad Sadeghi, 56, Morteza Bayat, 32, and Kiarash Bahari, 27, fear the death penalty if they get deported because they moved to England last year after they say they were tortured in Iran.

In a statement the men said: “We came to the UK looking for safety. We cannot return to Iran. We request for any help and any protection. We are destitute since we have been refused asylum.”

Amnesty International UK Refugee Programme director Jan Shaw said:

“While we don’t know the precise nature of their asylum claims, what’s clear is their level of desperation and the fear they have of being removed to Iran.

“The UK court has accepted that Iranians who have engaged in opposition political activities inside or outside Iran, or who have criticised the Iranian regime, may face persecution on return to Iran. There is a real possibility that such activities may come to the attention of the Iranian authorities. It is no wonder these people are scared.”

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The Home Office said the men’s asylum applications are at different stages and it could not comment on individual cases.

A spokesman for the UK Border Office Agency said: “These individuals were given every opportunity to make their representations to us as well as a right to appeal the decision to the courts. They all had access to free legal advice as well as a designated UK Border Agency case owner who considered their case on its individual merits.”