AN Iranian woman’s “hopes and dreams” in Australia have been dashed by an Immigration Department order that could force her to be deported by the end of this year.
Mojgan Shamsalipoor, 24, has lived in Brisbane for the past nine months after being released from immigration detention.
Her case has been in the media spotlight, and she has released a book telling of her heart-wrenching struggle to remain in Australia with her husband.
However, on June 14, a phone call from the office of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed Ms Shamsalipoor has only six months left in Australia before returning to Iran.
Her lawyer Kevin Kardigamar said despite “a legal limbo with no future at all”, Ms Shamsalipoor would continue to fight for her hopes and dreams, but the constant threat of being detained or sent back to Iran was having “a very draining impact on her mental health”.
Under an international agreement, Iran refuses to accept the involuntary return of asylum seekers.
Ms Shamsalipoor faces persecution and imprisonment if forced to return.
“The Minister does not want to intervene or even look at her case again,” Ms Shamsalipoor’s husband Milad Jafari said.
“It is a very shocking and depressing decision made by the Minister. He should be our leader and look at the case of each individual.”
Ms Shamsalipoor and Mr Jafari are two young Iranian asylum seekers who met in Australia after fleeing their homeland.
At just 17 years of age, all Ms Shamsalipoor wanted was to be safe from physical and sexual abuse.
In the months between their separate sea voyages, the Australian Government changed the way asylum seekers were treated.
Though Mr Jafari is recognised as a refugee and will soon become an Australian citizen, Ms Shamsalipoor has been told she cannot stay here even though the threat of imprisonment and further abuse, or worse, means she can’t return to Iran.
In September last year, after almost two years in detention, including time inside Darwin’s Wickham Point Detention Centre, Ms Shamsalipoor was released back into the community.
Mr Dutton used his discretionary powers to issue Ms Shamsalipoor a temporary bridging visa, which was renewed in March while she then applied for a partner visa.
The department has rejected her application for a partner visa and given her until the end of this year on another temporary bridging visa.
More than 105,000 people have signed a petition in which Ms Shamsalipoor has pleaded for Mr Dutton to allow her to stay.
“I’d rather kill myself than return to Iran – to the hell where my stepfather took my innocence by force,” the petition states.
“My life’s been rebuilt in Brisbane. I went to high school here, made incredible friends and married a beautiful man.”
A new biography, Under the Same Sky, released in April, has raised the profile of Mojgan and Milad and their case to stay together in Australia.
The book tells of a couple’s love and caring for each, and includes the tale of her harrowing detention.
“This is our story, but it is the story of a lot of refugees I met … during two years in detention,” she said.
“They deserve to be in the community. They deserve to have a normal life as everyone.”
Under the Same Sky is also a story of how Australians from many walks of life, have sympathised and backed the young couple.
Supporters range from a legion of schoolgirls to politicians who have raised the case in state and federal parliaments.
“It is very clear the general public feel very strongly about this case,” Mr Kardigamar said.
“It makes no sense keeping a young woman, a member of an Australian family, in limbo. It contributes nothing to border security, and lacks all compassion.
“She (Mojgan) cannot be sent back to Iran because the Iranian Government does not accept forced deportees. And Mojgan is very clear in her resolve she will not go back to Iran voluntarily.
“Everyone gains if she is allowed some kind of a future in Australia.”
Ms Shamsalipoor and Mr Jafari, along with former teacher Jessica Walker, spoke at a World Refugee Day rally in Brisbane on June 24.
A petition in support of Ms Shamsalipoor can be found online at change.org.