7 Mar 2010

Asylum seeker obtains refugee status after five years

6:41 am on 7 March 2010

An Iranian asylum seeker has been granted refugee status five years after arriving in New Zealand, because he could face repercussions in his homeland for leading bible classes and demonstrating in Auckland.

Footage of the demonstration, which followed last year's elections in Iran, was posted on YouTube.

Leaders of two churches told the Refugee Status Appeals Authority the man teaches scripture and has a genuine faith.

But the panel said he has shown persistent deceit and manipulation of the immigration system.

But after two failed appeals to the authority and two judicial reviews, the panel accepted he is no longer an ordinary convert to Christianity and risks persecution in Iran as a proselytiser.