Iranian asylum seeker enters 35th day of hunger strike

An Iranian asylum seeker who has been on hunger strike for 34 days, will not abandon his action because he fears he will be killed if deported, according to his room mate.

A rally was held in Sligo on Saturday to highlight the case of the man, amid calls to the minister for justice to intervene.

The man’s room mate says he is now so weak that he cannot stand up and his eyesight has been affected.

Ahmad Kamal from Sudan, who attended the United Against Racism rally in Dublin, shares a room with the Iranian man at Globe House in Sligo.

Speaking in Dublin Mr Kamal, who has been in Ireland for 11 years, said the man is getting medical attention but continues to refuse food and is only taking sips of water. “He knows he could die but he is scared because he is wanted by the government in his country,” said Mr Kabal.

Protesters outside Globe House said the asylum seeker would prefer to die here rather than be sent back to Iran. “There is a man dying in there,” said one protester who said nobody seemed to care.

Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry, who has appealed to the Minister Frances Fitzgerald to review the case as a matter of urgency, urged the man to end his hunger strike without prejudice to his case. “I have asked the minister look at this case on a human level”, said Mr MacSharry who added that there was a process in asylum cases.

Nigel Gallagher a local People Before Profit activist, said the man had spent four years in the UK — much of it sleeping on the streets.

“He is afraid that if the Irish authorities send him back to the UK that he will be deported,” said Mr Gallagher.

Josette Newman of Sligo Diversity, a group which works closely with asylum seekers in Globe House, said she was hopeful that the issue would be resolved.

She said the man was being supported by management at the residential centre, was seeing a counsellor every day and was getting medical attention. “We are heartbroken that he is on hunger strike for so long”.

A spokesman for the minister said the department does not make comments on individuals in the protection process and had an obligation under the Refugee Act to protect the identity of those in the process.

“Providing any information about any person could lead to individuals in the protection process being inadvertently identified which would result in the State being in breach of its obligations in this regard,” he added.

A spokesperson for Bridgestock, the company which runs Globe House, referred queries to the Reception Integration Agency (RIA). The RIA said it was a matter for the Department of Justice.


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