11 October 2011, Washington DC — On Thursday, 6 October 2011, Fouad Velzi received notice of his impending release from Märsta detention center, where he was being held pending deportation to Iran. He was released later the same day.
Fouad is a Kurdish Iranian political asylum-seeker and anti-regime activist. As a member of both the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran and Mission Free Iran, organizations that actively oppose the Islamic Republic of Iran, if he had been returned to Iran, he would have certainly faced severe persecution.
Yet the Swedish migration authorities had detained Fouad since the 28th of August with the intention to deport him to the bloody hands of the Islamic Republic.
As a result of the activism undertaken on his behalf by the member organizations of the International Coalition for the Rights of Iranian Refugees, particularly the European Organization for Iranian Refugees, Mission Free Iran, and the International Federation for Iranian Refugees; as a result of the distinguished contributions by Rasoul Benavand of the Borderless Organization, and the work of the Justice Party, which participated in organizing a protest action to demand a halt to Fouad’s deportation; as a result of each letter sent by concerned refugee- and human rights activists in support of Fouad; Mr. Velzi has been released from detention. We expect that he will shortly be granted leave to stay in Sweden by the migration authorities.
ICRIR thanks everyone who joined hands to demand asylum for Fouad. Mission Free Iran would in particular like to extend their gratitude to all who helped in Fouad’s case, among them Fouad’s lawyer who generously represented Fouad on a pro bono basis upon MFI’s request.
We also thank the Swedish Migration Office for realizing that their decisions have been wrong in the case of Fouad Velzi, and based on misunderstanding of national, European and international laws and conventions. We hope that this serves as another proof that migration staff need to be updated on country-of-origin information as well as the legal bases on which asylum decisions should be made; such an approach will save both taxpayers’ money and people’s lives. Going forward, we refer the Migration office to the cases of Namjoo Tehma and Mitra Kahrom, two additional examples in which people with a right to asylum are faced with outrageous decisions based on faulty procedures implemented by the Swedish Migration Office and paid for by the Swedish people.
We congratulate Fouad on his release and we look forward to his continued participation in the ongoing struggle for asylum rights.
* * *
Contributions of ICRIR member organizations to Fouad’s release from detention include but are not limited to the documents embedded below this press release.
Members of the ICRIR include Action for Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East, the European Organization for Iranian Refugees, the International Federation for Iranian Refugees, the Iranian Refugee Amnesty Network, and Mission Free Iran.