Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Free Jamal Newsletter

Newsletter Free Jamal!
Wednesday 31 March 2010

Global day of action for Jamal.
Today, Wednesday 31 March is a global day of action with protests in Vancouver, Toronto, Washington DC, London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Tokyo. Full reports to follow.
Mission in Japan
Special Rep Farshad Hosseini arrived in Japan on Monday to lobby the Ministry of Justice, UNHCR and Jorge Bustamante, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. And of course to see and speak with Jamal.

The global day of action for Jamal is coinciding with Mr Bustamante’s press conference in Tokyo to report on the findings of his mission. Farshad spoke at today’s press conference and spoke afterwards with Mr Bustamante and was also interviewed by several journalists on Jamal’s situation and the situation in Iran. Farshad reports that Mr Bustamante’s finding of the situation of migrants in Japan indicates that there are indeed serious issues that need to be addressed by the Japanese government, but more to come on this.

At 12 noon Farshad also attended a protest outside the detention centre in Tokyo where Jamal is held while simultaneously detainees inside protested too. There was another protest in front of the Ministry of Justice.

NB Mr Amemiya, a retired professor has published a book about refugees in Japan and part of the book is about Jamal and his situation. Mr Amemiya has met with Mr Bustamante and has given him the book.
Visit to the Japanese embassy in London
At a follow-up visit to the Japanese embassy in London last week, Bahram Soroush (IFIR) and I saw First Secretary of the embassy Mr Yokote.
He told us that he had contacted the Japanese immigration authorities who are part of the Ministry of Justice in Japan and he said that the ‘experts on Iran’ saw no compelling reason not to deport Jamal. We explained to him the extent of Jamal’s activities and the danger he faces if he were to be returned to Iran. We talked at length about the human rights situation in Iran and Mr Yokote assured us that the Japanese government is aware and concerned about the situation. He stressed that Japan is not like Iran and that Japan is a democratic country. He vehemently denied any underhand dealings with the Iranian regime or any kind of pressure that Japan might be under from Iran. However, the only advice he had for us was to complain via the official channels in Japan. We asked him to relay our demands for Jamal to the Japanese government. We also informed him about the global day of action for Jamal and announced our presence in front of the embassy on 31 March.
Patty Debonitas, London, UK
Reason for Jamal’s asylum application refusal
Farshad Hosseini informed us that Jamal’s asylum application was refused because the Ministry of Justice said that Jamal’s activities in Japan are not important enough for the Islamic Republic of Iran to persecute him if he were going be deported to Iran and also that the party he belongs to, the Worker-communist party of Iran, is neither big nor important enough in Iran for the Islamic regime to have an interest in Jamal. (We beg to differ!)

Farshad Hosseini also informed us about a drive by the Japanese government to deport many asylum seekers without legal position to clear a ‘backlog’. That means that last year alone 100.000 refugees were deported. And another 170.000 are on the list.
Interview with Jamal
We have spoken to Jamal and have an interview with him which will be available soon
Letters of support
Recently, CAW, the National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada, CGT and SUD unions in France, the Iranian-Canadian Centre in Victoria, Canada have all sent letters on behalf of Jamal to their respective Japanese embassies and consulates. The Persian Gay and Lesbian Liberators group in the UK has also sent their full support to the Free Jamal! campaign.

Please keep your letters and messages of support coming. Jamal needs them!
We now have an online petition:
Send protest letter to the Japanese Ministry of Justice and UNHCR in Japan straight from our online site:

We encourage you to also send your letter of protest to your local embassy/consulate. The link for addresses is here:
Other things to do
Suleiman Sigarchi from Canada has visited the office of a Member of Parliament and has also written to all other MPs about Jamal’s case. Please raise the issue with your MP.
Other news
Mission Free Iran, a Washington-based group has staged its second Sunday protest this week in front of the Japanese embassy in Washington DC.

Amnesty International is in touch with Jamal’s lawyer and is checking into his legal situation.

For full info on the campaign and activities please go to our blog:

Patty Debonitas
+44 (0) 750 797 8745

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