Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Final plea by woman facing Iran deportation. If I'll board the plain I am going to be dead.

A Christian asylum seeker says she will be killed if she is deported to Iran as planned tonight.

Tara Aryan, 28, has lived in Hove since arriving in Britain two years ago and has been waiting for the results of an application for asylum.

She was arrested last week and was still waiting yesterday to hear if her solicitor can get a court ruling to stop her being flown back to Iran at 6.45pm.

Tara told The Argus she believes the fact she has abandoned Islam and embraced Christianity means she will be executed by Iran's fundamentalist regime.

She said: "If it happens I'm going to be dead.

"If I go back I'm going to be lost. I'm going to be met at the airport by the police, disconnected from the world and wiped off the map.

"It's not just me. It happens all the time."

They say there has been no official ruling on a fresh application lodged in December 2006 but the Home Office has said there is no outstanding appeal or application for asylum.

Yesterday afternoon they were still waiting to hear whether the deportation could be postponed while the case is heard in the courts.

From her room in Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire, Tara described her strict upbringing and the repressive conditions facing women in Iran.

She said: "From the age of nine you have to start covering yourself, wearing scarves and long clothes to cover your body.

"You can't have a boyfriend.

If you are walking with a man on the street they will arrest you and question you about your relationship with the man.

"If you can't provide the documentation that you are somehow related there is a very big punishment. Sometimes they force you to marry the man. If you cheat on your husband they will stone you to death."

Tara was brought up in a strictly Islamic household and has been disowned by her father since converting to Christianity.

She said: "My father is very religious and is very strict.

"He used to beat my mother.

In Iran the man owns his daughter and his wife, like animals.

"He can do whatever he wants to them and nobody is going to punish him."

Tara became interested in Christianity while a teenager but was turned away by churches in Tehran because they feared reprisals if they actively converted Muslims.

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