I’m staying put, declares Iranian sheik
HE has been given just days to leave the country or be deported, but Iranian sheik Mansour Leghaei has no intention of packing his bags.
Sheik Mansour Leghaei at the Imam Husain Islamic Centre at Earlwood, Sydney. Leghaei has been under investigation by ASIO officers for 12 years because they regarded him as a threat to national security
- By Natasha Robinson/From:The Australian/thanks to Mullah
Like Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef before him, he is convinced that the intelligence that has caused the Australian Government to view him with suspicion will eventually be revealed as false. “I am not the first person that they have proven to be wrong in their assessment,” Sheik Mansour said yesterday. “You remember the story of Dr Haneef?
“I have never doubted that I am going to win this case, not only because I believe I am innocent and very unfairly treated. There have been many innocent people before me and after me as well.”
- (This case reminds me of Mohammad Qatanani, another radical headbanger who’s supporters blocked the courthouse for weeks to prevent his deportation from the US. Read it here>>)
The Federal Government is under increasing pressure to re-examine whether the Iranian sheik – who came to Australia in 1994 and has a reputation as a leading moderate Shia cleric – should be deported on the basis that he has been deemed a risk to national security. The Government is believed to suspect Dr Leghaei of spying.
While Dr Leghaei has launched numerous legal battles seeking to have his security assessment reviewed in courts, all have failed. His only available avenue of review now lies with Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
The sheik must demonstrate that new information that was not before a tribunal or court has emerged in his case in order to meet Immigration Department guidelines for a case review.
But he will also be appealing to Senator Evans on humanitarian grounds.
In an interview withÂ The Australian yesterday at the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in Earlwood in Sydney’s inner southwest, Dr Leghaei cried as he described the impact of his impending deportation on his family. The sheik has three sons and one daughter. Two of his sons have permanent residency, as does his daughter, Fatima, who was born here. Son Ali, 21, does not have Australian citizenship and also faces deportation with his father.
Dr Leghaei has been given until Friday to leave the country.
A spokeswoman for the Immigration Department said the Government had not yet received a request for ministerial intervention in Dr Leghaei’s case. She said when such requests were received, it was standard for the applicant to be able to remain in Australia on a bridging visa pending the outcome of the review.
More on a similar case in the US: