For Iranian refugees, the inhumanity which started back home continues in Greece
Theusday, October 26, 2010
By Sheda Vasseghi UN 11:50 pm
With the inevitable downfall of the theocratic regime in Tehran, history will
highlight the legacy of the Islamic Republic. One of its legacies is the
abhorrent phenomenon of countless Iranian refugees scattered across the globe, a
condition never experienced by Iranians prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Pagani refugee detention center on the island
Among the least tolerant locations for Iranian refugees as they leave behind
their homes and families are Turkey and Greece. For the past several weeks Mr.
Saied Shemirani, an Iranian political activist and broadcaster based in Los
Angeles, has been exposing the mistreatment of Iranian refugees in Greece. The
United Nations pays Greece to properly document and handle its refugee cases.
The funds are to provide basic needs such as food and shelter for the victims as
well as administrative costs incurred by the host country while their cases are
Mr. Shemirani’s most recent TV programs have exposed the treatment and condition
of a group of Iranian political asylum refugees including several who have been
on hunger strike for almost two weeks. These 44 refugees in Athens consist of
men, women, and children. They have been in Greece for many years in limbo.
Because of their status they cannot work or even open a bank account. Greece has
no camps or shelters for these people. Additionally, refugees in Europe are
fingerprinted at the first host country which means going to any other European
country for a better status may be impossible as they are subject to deportation
to the original host country.
Among the 44 refugees, several have sewn their mouths shut to further protest
their unacceptable status as well as the regime in Tehran. Many of the refugees
were among the protestors, who poured into the streets of Iran since June 2009
to denounce the staged presidential elections placing Ahmadinejad in power, and
the theocratic regime in its entirety. The refugees display evidence of the
brutality of the regime in Tehran and its decades of gross human rights
violations. Reportedly several members of this group still carry the torture
scars received at the hands of the regime’s agents in response to their
political protests. If Greece denies them asylum and deports them to Iran, they
will end up in jail, their families’ properties may be confiscated, and many
will likely be tortured or executed at the hands of the Islamic Republic
It is estimated there are around 3500 Iranian refugees in Greece alone, many of
whom have been there for years while their cases remain pending. These
individuals simply want to know their status, and believe an answer should be
given within a reasonable time. The refugees are also worried about their safety
and security. The Islamic Republic has diplomatic relations with the Greek
government, and on many occasions, Iranian refugees were subject to harassment
by local Greek authorities. Further, medical assistance to them is either
ignored or inadequate. In some cases, private donations are used to rent
ambulances to take care of their sick or injured.
The Iranian refugees make a clear distinction between the people of Greece and
the Greek authorities. They state that the people of Greece have been very kind
and compassionate to them. The Greek citizens listen to their ordeal under an
Islamic regime. Unfortunately, the refugees fear the political and economic ties
between the regime in Tehran and the government of Greece. The Islamic Republic
intelligence personnel have been spotted meeting with local Greek police forces
near the location of the refugees. They believe this relationship is used
against them and their status especially since they are an eye-sore for the
regime in Tehran as they expose their human rights violations on a daily basis.
The spokesperson for the Iranian refugees stated that the dictatorship of
Islamic Republic is rejected by majority of Iranians and can no longer survive.
The citizens of Greece are with the people of Iran. They have learned the horror
and terror that the Iranians have endured under the clerics in power. The
refugees positively denied any direct or indirect connections to recent threats
allegedly on their behalf to the Greek Consulate in California. They reiterated
their desire to achieve their goals in a peaceful and democratic fashion. To
this end, it is a humanitarian cause regardless of political ideologies.
The refugees hope the government of Greece, as a member of the European
Community, will do what it is expected and paid to do. They ask that the United
Nations follow through with its duties and put real pressure on countries such
as Greece and Turkey to meet their obligations to all refugees. It goes without
saying they ultimately hope a free Iran will finally put an end to this inhumane
nightmare for their fellow countrymen and women.
Sheda Vasseghi is on the Board of Azadegan Foundation and is a regular
contributor to WorldTribune.com and Freepressers.com on Iran’s Affairs.
Sheda Vasseghi is a member of the
Board of Azadegan Foundation and persepolis3d.com. She is a regular contributor
on Iran’s affairs.
This Article published in the
World Tribune this is a courtesy copy
to the original article.