03 June 2010

Protest rally calls the government to reconsider Australia visa for sheikh

Religious and community leaders rallied outside Parliament House in Canberra in support of an Iranian Muslim sheikh who is due to be deported from Australia in a fortnight.

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei has lived in Australia  for the past 16 years but was denied a permanent Australian Visa after being declared a security threat a number of years ago by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

The United Nations has asked the federal government to delay his deportation while it investigates the situation, but the government has declined and the Australian Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans has also declined to intervene.

The Australian Government has issued permanent Australian Visa for his wife and three children.

The Sheikh's Lawyer Rob Saul says the group has tried to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd asking him to help but, Mr Saul says, the Prime Minister won't accept the letter.

The Migration Review Tribunal denied Sheikh Leghaei an Australian Visa  two weeks ago after ruling it lacked the authority to examine or overrule ASIO's assessment. ASIO is not obliged to reveal to the Sheikh's lawyers what evidence its assessment is based on, as the Sheikh is not an Australian citizen.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australia immigration applications with the Australian Embassy.   

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