18 May 2010

Australian visa for sheikh denied

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The Australian Immigration Department has ordered the deportation of an Iranian Sheikh after Australia’s intelligence agency flagged him as a security risk.

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei’s permanent Australian Visa request was denied on Monday when the Australian Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, refused to intervene against ASIO's adverse security assessment.

The cleric's wife, Marzieh Hosseini, and his son, Mohammed Ali Leghaei, have been granted permanent residency, the Australian Immigration Minister said.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)  accused Dr Leghaei of undisclosed ''acts of foreign interference'' and Dr Leghaei has been given six weeks to leave the country, angering the 1200 members of his congregation at his Islamic centre at Earlwood, Sydney.

On April 21, the UN's Human Rights Committee asked the Australian government not to deport Dr Leghaei while it considered his case for human rights as he has not been offered a summary of evidence against him. The assessment process by the UN could take a year.

As Dr Leghaei is a non-citizen, Australian law entitles him to no explanation, a position confirmed by the Australian High Court, although this may be in violation of six articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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

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