Help stop this family’s imminent deportation!

The Bakhtiyari family is from Afghanistan, but the government plans to
deport them to Pakistan.

Roqia’s brother Mazher Ali was forcibly returned to the Pakistani city of
Quetta in July 2003. He was jailed for having false documents and forced to bribe his way out.

Ali came to Australia in 2001 and was found to be a refugee and granted a temporary visa. Roqia and the children arrived almost a year later and had their claims rejected.

In June 2002, Alamdar and Montazar, then aged 14 and 12, escaped from detention and were on the run for three weeks. Amid international media attention, many people will remember how they unsuccessfully claimed asylum in the British Consulate in Melbourne. Their crying faces were on the front pages of every newspaper. This was a government embarrassment.

The government claims the family is from Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Yet
they know it’s a lie. It has a copy of a Taskera, an official document
signed by the Governor of Sharestan on September 7, 2002, confirming that the Bakhtiyari family are from the Oruzgan province in Afghanistan.

The government cancelled Ali Bakhtiyari s visa in 2002 on the basis of a
document which they said proved he was a plumber from Pakistan. The
document that is not signed or dated and indicates Asghar Ali (they claim this is Ali Bakhtiyari) was born in Quetta, Pakistan. The names of his family – Mariam, Zakia, Sikander and Ghazanfar – are not those of Ali
Bakhtiyari’s family. On this alone, an unsigned, undated document with the wrong names in it, he is held to be from Pakistan, none of whose languages he or his children speak.

In December 2002, the government cancelled the visa of Afghan refugee Mohib Sarwari, living in Launceston with his family. They declared that they had proof he was Asghar Ali s brother, Ghazahfar. This accusation fell apart when refugee lawyer Marion Le went to Afghanistan to find the Sarwaris village and came back with proof that they were Hazaras and had lived there until they fled to Australia.

With the revelation that Mohib was falsely accused of being Pakistani,serious questions should have been raised about the accusations gainst
Ali Bakhtiyari. They weren’t.

The media is complicit in this scandal. Where are the investigative journalists challenging the government on its evidence?

“Asked yesterday if she had read their file, Amanda Vanstone said she
hadn’t”, Bob Ellis wrote in the Melbourne Age on December 21.

“Asked if she had seen any evidence that they were Pakistanis, she said
she hadn’t.

Asked if she’d seen, or anyone had seen, their Pakistani birth
certificates, she agreed there weren’t any.

She said, however, that they had had a fair go – including, apparently,
32 months behind razor wire”.

Help stop this family’s imminent deportation! Call Amanda Vanstone’s
office and demand that they let the Bakhtiyaris stay.

Phone (08) 8223 1757 Fax (08) 8223 1750

Background articles:

Bob Ellis in today’s Age “The new Australian fair go”
http://www.theage.com.au/news/Opinion/The-new-Australian-fair-go/2004/12/20/1103391697925.html

Government uses false documents to discredit Bakhtiyaris (Sarah Stephen in Green Left Weekly, Dec 1)
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2004/608/608p9.htm

Today’s media release by the minister, where she attacks claims that her government will deport the family before Christmas as “misinformation”:
http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media_releases/media04/v04149.htm

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