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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 19:58 GMT 20:58 UK
Asylum seeker sets himself alight
Refugee Action, Manchester
About 15 people saw Mr Tajarogee set himself alight
An Iranian asylum seeker is in a critical condition in hospital after setting fire to himself in the offices of a refugee charity in Manchester.

Esrafeel Tajarogee suffered burns to 80% of his body after he set himself alight at the offices of Refugee Action on Dale Street, Manchester, on Thursday.

It is believed that he arrived in Manchester a year ago, having applied for asylum. His application was rejected last year.

Mr Tajarogee set himself on fire with a lighter in front of about 15 people at the charity's offices.

He was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital, where he is critically ill in the burns unit.

'Very distressed'

Jeremy Heney, team manager at Refugee Action, said: "We were very shocked and very distressed.

"We see a lot of people who are in a distressed state, but obviously this is very extreme and we have never experienced anything like it."

Reza Moradi of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, told BBC North West Tonight that many asylum seekers are driven to desperate action.

He added: "Once you see you are facing deportation to jailers of the Islamic regime - you can't have a solicitor, you have no house to live in, you can't work, that is enough for people to commit suicide, or do something like this."

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