The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
In Memory of Israfil Shiri 1973-2003

Another innocent victim of the UK's 'Unjust and inhumane' Immigration laws

Submitted by Debbie Grue • 7 September 2003

Israfil Shiri, died early this morning after five days of terrible suffering in Wythenshawe Hospital Burns Unit Manchester.

Press Release from Manchester Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers

Israfil Shiri, a destitute young Iranian man poured petrol over his body and set fire to himself last Thursday in the offices of Refugee Action in Manchester. He suffered burns to 80% of his body. He had told his friends he would do it to prove that this government cares more about animals than people fleeing torture and persecution.

"If they cut off all my benefits, prevent me from working and make me homeless, I too will commit suicide". These were the words of another Iranian asylum seeker who, along with 30 other people, attended a meeting on Monday to discuss last Thursday's tragedy and how we can prevent it from happening again.

Israfil Shiri, 30, who has been on life support at Wythenshawe Hospital Burns Unit following the suicide attempt at the Manchester offices of Refugee Action last week, died earlier this morning.

In Iran, he had worked in a section of the military and he fled the country when he and his family were persecuted because he refused to follow orders that involved harming other innocent people. He suffered from a complicated medical condition and since his application for asylum was rejected over a year ago, he had been refused any medical treatment, had been made homeless from his Salford council flat and had received no benefits or support.

His friend described how before the suicide attempt Israfil was in great pain due to his illness and was terrified of being sent back to Iran. He had lost all hope.

Reza Moradi of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees commenting on the incident said, "Once you see you are facing deportation to jailers of the Islamic regime - you can't have a solicitor, you have no house to live in, you can't work, that is enough for people to commit suicide, or do something like this."

This tragedy comes only a month after 2 other incidents in which one Iranian asylum seeker sewed his mouth and lips together and another went on hunger strike.

An open letter (below) has been launched and the Manchester Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers calling for local politicians and leaders to meet with the Iranian Community of asylum seekers in Greater Manchester.

Please sign and return to:
Manchester Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers
c/o 1 Delaunays Road
Manchester M8 4QS

Inquiries/further information:

Mark Krantz on 0161-881-7352 or
or Rhetta Moran on 0161-295-5277

Manchester Committee To Defend Asylum Seekers

Statement On Suicide of Israfel Shiri

We are horrified by the hidden plight of Iranian asylum seekers in this country, now made so visible by the shocking suicide of the young homeless man Israfel who set fire to himself in Manchester last week.

Israfel, who suffered from a serious medical condition, had been refused medical treatment, housing, benefits and the right to work for over a year. He fled Iran several years ago to escape political persecution and before the incident last week he told his friend he was terrified of being sent back to Iran and had lost all hope of a decent existence in Britain.

We understand that there are many other Iranians who are destitute and living in fear of deportation in this country and we demand that local politicians meet with the Iranian Asylum Seeking and Refugee community in Greater Manchester to discuss this situation and take measures to prevent similar tragedies taking place in the future.

Supported by:

Name/organisation: ………………………

Position: ………………………


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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

7 September 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Bush, Coke-a-Cola and the Nazis
Eamonn McCann


A Regime of Silence
Anthony McIntyre


Lower Falls Memories
Kathleen O'Halloran


My Axis of Evil
Pedram Moallemian


In Memory of Israfil Shiri 1973-2003
Debbie Grue


IRPWA Calls on Paul Murphy to Reveal Recommendations
Martin Mulholland


A Letter to Mr Foley
Matthew Kavanagh


4 September 2003


US Denies It Gave Safe Harbor to Brian Nelson
Fr Sean Mc Manus


Between Theory and Reality
Eamon Sweeney


In the Name of Security
Jim J Kane


Caught at it Again
Anthony McIntyre


The History of the Troubles According to the Provos
John Nixon


Moving Forward Past the Past
Davy Carlin


More Questions than Answers
Mick Hall


In Memory of Robert Emmet

Charles Murnick


Attempted Suicide by Iranian Asylum Seeker
Debbie Grue


Dublin: Maghberry Briefing Meeting
Mags Glennon


Belfast Anti-War Movement
Public Meeting




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