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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Stitches removed from asylum protester
Stitches cut out
The stitches were cut by a nurse
An Iranian refugee who stitched up his eyelids, lips and ears in protest at the threat of deportation has had the threads removed from his mouth.

A nurse slowly cut the stitches from Abas Amini in a park near his home in Nottingham.

The 33-year-old married father of two was weak and dehydrated after nine days without food.

He then spoke in whispers through an interpreter - and said he had not given up his campaign.

Mr Amini said: "Getting rid of the stitches to open my mouth is not a sign of surrender. I want to stay alive to continue the struggle.

"I would like to sit down when I feel a bit better and make a programme of activity to fight for anybody who faces oppression anywhere in the world.

"I am happy to do that for anybody."

Abas Amini
I sewed my eyes so others could see, I sewed my ears so others could hear, I sewed my mouth to give others a voice
Abas Amini
He had continued his protest on behalf of all asylum seekers after the Home Office ruled he could stay.

Mr Amini, a poet, was granted asylum two months ago, but his protest started last week when he learned the Home Office had decided to appeal against the decision.

Dozens of supporters surrounded him as a poem was read out by his interpreter on Friday, giving his message to the British Government.

It said: "He sewed up his lips so that he could speak out.

"He sewed up his eyes to make others see.

"He sewed up his ears to make others hear.

"You whose eyes, ears and mouths are free, see, hear and speak out."

Protest 'regrettable'

Mr Amini, whose family remains in Iran, said he would be executed for his political past if he is sent back there.

He escaped jail in Iran and headed for Britain two years ago, where he applied for asylum.

His application was backed by a medical report supporting his torture claims.

His eyelids have reportedly become infected, but he had been refusing to take medication.

Mr Amini was granted asylum two months ago, but his protest was triggered by a Home Office decision this week to appeal.

After five adjournments, an immigration tribunal said he could stay, but the Home Office disagreed and decided to appeal.

An independent tribunal rejected the Home Office appeal and the Iranian national was allowed to stay in the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said Mr Amini's actions were "deeply regrettable".


WATCH AND LISTEN
Abas Amini
"There are people being oppressed and robbed of everything"



SEE ALSO:
Asylum protest 'regrettable'
29 May 03  |  Nottinghamshire
Protester's tortured past
27 May 03  |  Nottinghamshire
UK 'turns corner' on asylum
22 May 03  |  Politics
Refugee's battle to stay
22 May 03  |  UK


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