Rahimi Family Must Stay! - Public Meeting - Wolverhampton Friday 16th June 2006

How small a cage is for a bird!
How boring a fish bowl is for a fish!
How scary and dark a grave is for a living and breathing boy!
How ugly detention is for a child!
Hand cuffs, iron locks, closed doors, fences
I was just six years old.
I felt great sorrow, as I had been doing very well at school And they
didn't permit me to go to school
when they took me to Yarlswood prison
For what crime? I don't know.
We came from a far land
with exhausted feet,
to this strange land
I want to smell calming flowers,
I want to search for secure moments,
I wish that I could fly!

Navid Rahimi with Zohreh his mother, reads out his poem of his memories of 32 days spent in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre

On Monday 16th May 2005, officers entered their home and informed them that they were being deported to Iran. They were taken to the government's immigration removal centre, Yarls Wood.

Hunger Strike - In protest at their situation the family, including six year old Navid, went on hunger strike. After 24 hours Navid was suffering severe stomach cramps and could not continue. After eight days Alireza came off the hunger strike as he had kidney stones. Zorieh continued her hunger strike for a total of 28 days.

Navid- Their son Navid became nervous and anxious at the sight of his mothers' mental and physical deterioration, believing he was in some - way responsible for his parent's condition. After 32 days detention Zorieh and Navid were released after his head teacher and a parish priest agreed to stand surety for them. The following day Navid was happily back at school and by the end of term he had caught up with all his studies. Alireza was released some days later.

Raided Again!- On July 25th at 6.00 am police removed the family from their home and, took them directly to Heathrow airport. They were placed on a flight to Iran. Once on the plane Zorieh put up a struggle, which resulted in the pilot refusing to proceed with the flight, and they were taken off the plane.

Zoriah and Navid returned to Wolverhampton with Alireza being released some weeks later on bail.

Azra Jabbar from 'National stop Deporting Children Campaign' spoke passionately of the horrors of the detention and deportation of children.

Alirezah spoke of the hardships they have gone through since coming to the UK and applying for asylum.

Sue Conlon the familys solicitor told the meeting that a new asylum claim had been lodged just the day before the meeting.

Mansoor Sadri - spoke about his friend Babak Ahadi, an Iranian asylum seeker who set himself alight in Bristol last year. He died the following day.

Angela Patterson still in the UK because she refused to fly & John O from NCADC, friend and supporter of the family.

Ken Purchase the family's MP opened the meeting and promised to fight all the way to get refugee status for the Rahimi's.

The Campaign meeting in support of the Rahimi family was attended by about 40/50 people. it was held in the Newhampton Arts Centre, Dunkley Street, Wolverhampton.

Photos: Copyright of Stalingrad O'Neill