A genuine problem for the immigration authorities
The Iranian Christian convert Thomas Yadegary definitely achieves a victory in short term following his release on bail. However, it may be the last time such decisions are taken by the court before the Immigration bill as the Green MP Keith Locke and No Right Turn have both pointed out that the power of court to grant relief in such cases might be taken away. This will certainly create a system of indefinite detention in New Zealand.
One thing for sure is that Yadegary’s situation creates a genuine problem for the state and for New Zealand’s immigration process. All parties approve Yadegary of being a sincere convert to Christianity. And Iran currently reserves the right to enforce a death penalty to those who convert from Islam, and it considering a law that would make this a mandatory penalty for not only converts but also for any Muslim who promotes such conversion.
Regardless of this fact, Yadegary’s claims for protection have been consistently rejected by the New Zealand refugee determination process. Since 2004, Yadegary has been consistently refusing to sign the documents that would enable him to acquire a new passport and thus be deported to Iran. Finally, as the judges did during Ahmed Zaoui’s bail proceedings, they compared Yadegary’s time in custody to the prison terms granted in case of serious criminal offences. Finally, they released him on bail until the documentation issues are resolved. Or until New Zealand agree with Iran on a agreement that would not require a valid passport for someone being deported back to Iran.
However, the reason for which the Crown and the Immigration Service are upset is obvious. They fear that the decision will encourage such conversions that will win them a de facto right to reside in New Zealand by simply waiting for a few years in prison and then applying for relief.
The Immigration Bill comes down hard directly on the other side of the bill without resolving the issue. Under clause 271A, the bill limits the court’s power to grant bail to detainees, while clause 285(2) allows the rolling of the detention warrants for those people whose detention on some action or inaction. In addition to this, clause 285(10) will disallow the judges to weigh the decision about granting the bail on the period a deportee has already spent in detention.
The Iranian Christian converts undoubtedly pose a genuine problem for the immigration authorities to solve.