IRANIAN asylum seeker Mojgan Shamsalipoor has been granted a further six-month bridging visa allowing her to stay in Australia – but there’s a hitch.
Immigration officials have set a new condition on Brisbane-based Ms Shamsalipoor in her long-running battle to avoid deportation – she is not allowed to study.
The decision has sparked a bittersweet social media outpouring from hundreds of supporters following Ms Shamsalipoor’s case.
“It’s awful. It makes life so difficult and horrible for her,” Jessica Walker, Ms Shamsalipoor’s former teacher at Yeronga State High School and a member of her support group #MojganMustStay, said.
“It’s a basic human right to improve yourself and study.
“Thank you to all Mojgan’s supporters – your love, prayers and well-wishes continue to give her strength.”
Ms Shamsalipoor, 24, fled to Australia in 2012.
Her account of life in Iran was violent and harrowing.
She said she faced death or torture if returned to Iran.
She spent her first few years in Australia as a high school student, but shortly before graduating was placed in immigration detention in Brisbane and Darwin.
After nearly two years behind razor wire, she was released last year, and now lives in Brisbane, married to Iranian Milad Jafari, whom she met in Australia.
Mr Jafari recently passed his citizenship test, and is allowed to stay in Australia.
“It is Mojgan’s dream to become a midwife – she has a future in Australia, ” Ms Walker said.
“She has a health services certificate and is studying for a Certificate III in childcare. Now she can no longer study.”
Ms Walker pointed out that Ms Shamsalipoor was paying international fees, so her study was not a drain on Australian taxpayers.
“I’m sorry, but this case is ridiculous; we trust that our government keeps us safe from dangerous people entering our country and they do a great job,” Facebook follower Kim O’Connor commented.
“I cannot see any threat from this intelligent young lady.
“(Immigration) Minister Peter Dutton, listen to the voice of the people.”
A biography, Under the Same Sky, released in April, has raised the profile of Ms Shamsalipoor and her husband and their case to stay together in Australia.
“This is our story, but it is the story of a lot of refugees I met … during two years in detention,” Ms Shamsalipoor told The Catholic Leader soon after the book was launched.
“They deserve to be in the community. They deserve to have a normal life as everyone.”
Under the Same Sky also tells how Australians from many walks of life have sympathised and backed the young couple.
More than 159,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Ms Shamsalipoor to be allowed refugee status and to stay in Australia.
“I’d rather kill myself than return to Iran – to the hell where my stepfather took my innocence by force,” the petition states, quoting Ms Shamsalipoor.
“My life’s been rebuilt in Brisbane.
“I went to high school here, made incredible friends and married a beautiful man.”