Iranian exile on hunger strike in Dublin


A member of the Iranian Kurdish opposition is on hunger strike in a Dublin hostel to protest at being refused asylum in Ireland. On March 21st members of the Workers Solidarity Movement joined Kurdish exiles, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins, Green TD Ciaran Cuffe, Sinn Fein TD Aengus O'Snodaigh and others at a protest outside the Dail organised by Residents Against Racism.M*, who says he was an activist for the banned Komala party in Iran, was told by a Refugee Applications Commissioner official that there were "credibility flaws" at "the heart of his claim" for asylum.

The official said M had not provided "any concrete or provable evidence of connections to the [Komala] party".

However, it took the Sunday Tribune just five minutes to contact a representative of the Komala party who confirmed that  M had been an activist for the party and had been forced to flee Iran following persecution. Membership of Komala can carry the death penalty, according to Amnesty International.

Jafar Ilkhani, the Representative Abroad for the Komala party, based in Sweden, contacted the party's office in Kurdistan who confirmed that M had been doing "covert political work" and had been "persecuted".

Jafar Ilkhani previously wrote a fax in support of Adnan's claim for asylum. The refugee applications official found that this letter "appears to be a faxed copy" and had "no real evidentiary or probative value".

There is no evidence that the official made any attempt to contact Jafar Ilkhani to verify the information contained in the fax, despite having been provided with various contact details for Komala by M's lawyers.

Adnan's legal file contains a detailed account of his clandestine activities on behalf of Komala, including an account of being tortured on one occasion.

M attended at the Centre for the Care of Survivors of Torture in Dublin. A psychotherapist from the centre reported that "he exhibits all the signs of a deeply traumatised individual", with symptoms including "acute anxiety, depression and fear".

A series of medical and psychological assessments have found Mohammedi to be suffering from severe anxiety and depression, and have said he was at risk of self-harm or suicide.

In the report, provided by the Centre for the Care of Survivors of Torture, the doctor painted a bleak picture of the life of someone caught in the asylum system here.

"Mr M says that he does nothing during the day. He mostly stays in his room or only occasionally goes out to use the internet. He says he has no friends? He says he is not learning English;

"He appears hopeless and says that he has lost his future. He says it is four years since he saw his wife and child? He says that he gets tearful, that he cries when he speaks to his daughter and becomes tearful on his own in the hostel."

* - article edited in June 2012 to removde M's full name on his request