Amir Keshani is an Iranian asylum seeker living in Sheffield. Due to his vocal opposition to the brutal ruling regime and his religious beliefs, Amir would be in danger of torture, detention or execution if returned to Iran. Amir has been refused asylum, which means he could be forcibly returned at any time.
Amir left Iran and fled to the UK in September 2009. He had voiced his opposition to the ruling party by graffitiing anti-government slogans on numerous occasions, when he was caught in the act by members of progovernment
paramilitary forces. Amir managed to escape that night but his house was later raided by armed plain-clothes officers. He managed to escape through the roof and subsequently fled to the UK.
Amir’s family have told him that Ettelaat and Basiji officers have since been to the family home several times asking for his whereabouts. In its Feb 2010 report, Human Rights Watch documents widespread human rights abuses by the Iranian government against protesters and opponents, including extra-judicial killings, torture and thousands of arbitrary arrests and detentions. Amir would therefore be in real danger if returned to Iran.
Since arriving in the UK, Amir has become a Christian (he comes from a Muslim family). Although most Christian groups face some discrimination in Iran, converts from Islam to Christianity are particularly targeted. Amnesty International reports that “Converts from Islam can risk arrest, attack or the death penalty” (Feb. 2006 report) and the organisation has therefore called for a halt to all returns of proven Christian converts as “any such return would be unsafe” (6th Sep. 2007).
Amir is an active and well-loved member of his church and he is working hard to become fluent in English. If given the chance to work and make his home in Sheffield he would contribute a lot to society.