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Refugee Milad Jafari puts life on hold to save separated wife

Refugee Milad Jafari

On hold: The life of Milad Jafari, with a photo of him and his wife Mojgan Shamsalipoor, is on hold since immigration officials rejected Mojgam’s asylum claim and transferred her to a Darwin detention centre.
Photo: Emilie Ng

By Peter Bugden

TWO 21-year-old Brisbane newlyweds torn apart by an immigration decision are pleading with Federal Minister Peter Dutton to end their nightmare.

Milad Jafari has put his life on hold while he fights to save his wife Mojgan Shamsalipoor from deportation and to have her released from immigration detention.

They were thrown into turmoil when Ms Shamsalipoor was transferred from a Brisbane detention centre to another in Darwin on August 7 after her asylum claim was rejected.

Mr Jafari, a refugee from Iran who is a permanent resident of Australia, said it was the longest they had been apart from each other since they met at the end of 2012.

When they were speaking by phone a few days ago, Ms Shamsalipoor said it was depressing.

It is the same for her husband.

“It’s kind of trauma at night for me,” he said.

“I can’t sleep, and I’m not eating much.

“I don’t feel like eating. I don’t feel like coming out of my room. I feel like waiting.

“It’s a weird feeling, because you wait and wait and wait till she calls me or until something happens, something good happens.

“I’m numb.”

Apart from Mr Jafari’s parents, who also live in Brisbane, and people like the staff and students at Yeronga State High School where his wife had almost completed Year 12, another of his strong supporters is Catholic asylum-seeker advocate Brendan Scarce.

“He’s my good friend,” Mr Jafari said.

Mr Scarce, who met the young couple at a Catholic baptism of a child born of asylum-seeker parents, has written to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and his local Federal Member Wayne Swan (Lilley) to plead the young couple’s case.

Through contact from Brisbane archdiocese, Church members in Darwin have offered support for Mr Jafari when he goes to Darwin to be closer to his wife.

Although there have been media reports that Mr Dutton had agreed to personally review the case, Mr Jafari said last Monday he had not had that information confirmed from the Minister.

“I really want to express my feelings to Mr Dutton face-to-face about how I feel about my wife,” he said.

“He has the decision to make to keep my wife in detention for a long time, or, please, give us this opportunity to apply for a partnership visa in Australia.

“He can do it.

“I know people get married so they can have a visa; that’s not us.

“It’s about love. We love each other.

“I live for her. That’s how much I love her.”

Ms Shamsalipoor had fled Iran with her brother in 2012 to escape brutal treatment and being forced to marry a man aged about 60.

Seeking asylum in Australia after arriving by boat from Indonesia, she was eventually granted community detention in Brisbane.

For the past eight months, despite being married to Mr Jafari, she had been living in detention and released to attend classes at Yeronga High during the day.

As she pushed for freedom, she sought advice from immigration specialists who suggested one option was to return to Iran and apply for a spouse visa to allow her to return to Brisbane for a normal married life with her husband.

Ms Shamsalipoor’s mother pleaded with her not to do that because it was not safe.

In the meantime, people like Mr Scarce and other Catholics in Brisbane pray and lobby politicians to have the young couple reunited.

A rally, the second in Brisbane to support Ms Shamsalipoor in recent weeks, was to be held on Friday (August 28) from 5-6pm in Musgrave Park, West End.

To sign a petition in support of Ms Shamsalipoor go to the website www.ipetitions.com/petition/help-me-to-release-my-wife-from-detention-centre.

Mr Dutton had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to print.

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