Open Letter to Refugee Support Organizations Regarding Saberi

Dear friends,

I am writing to inform you about the case of Jamal Saberi (Jalal Amanzadeh Nouei), an Iranian human rights activist and refugee who fled to Japan 18 years ago, and is now at risk of forced return to Iran, where he will certainly face detention, torture, and probable execution. Saberi was arrested on Thursday 4 March 2010 by the Japanese Immigration Bureau in Tokyo with the intention of deporting him to Iran. Mr. Jamal Saberi is a well known political opponent of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Obviously, Japan’s effort to forcibly return an Iranian political activist constitutes a violation of the international principle of non-refoulement. It is also emblematic of the Islamic Republic’s recent efforts to recruit international assistance in its effort to silence Iranian dissidents.

The Saberi case has global implications: If Japan flouts human rights standards and international principles on the status of refugees, consequences for refugees worldwide will be dire. We consider especially the impact of Japan’s actions on thousands of new Iranian refugees surviving precariously in Turkey, which has in the past violated the principle of non-refoulement and has begun systematic though unofficial persecution of this new wave of Iranian refugees.

We are writing to ask you join us in demanding that Japan set the appropriate international precedent in this matter by freeing Jamal Saberi, stopping the deportation proceedings, formally establishing Saberi’s refugee status, and implementing appropriate protections to preserve his life.

Japan must uphold refugee rights according to international standards, and we extend this demand throughout the world wherever refugee rights are threatened.

My organization will be holding a protest in front of the Japanese Embassy (2520 Massachusetts Ave NW) this weekend, Sunday March 21 at 1pm; you are very welcome to attend.

We also request that you file your concerns about the Saberi case with the relevant authorities in this matter; contact information is included below. We cannot allow Japan to set this inhumane precedent – it increases risks to refugees around the world.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this grave matter.

Maria Rohaly

Japanese Embassy
2520 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20008-2869
Phone: 202-238-6700
Fax: 202-328-2187

Ministry of Justice
1-1-1 Kasumigaseki,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8977
Phone: +81-3-3580-4111

UNHCR Representation in Japan
UN House 6th Floor
5-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
Tel +81-3-3499-2011/2310
UNHCR Representation in Japan
Protection Unit
Tel 03-3499-2075

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
phone: +41 22 739 8111
electronic contact:



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