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Iranian determined to stay in NZ

Published: 7:52AM Friday April 06, 2007 Source: Newstalk ZB

The Iranian chef released from Auckland's Mt Eden Prison on Thursday wants to stay in New Zealand despite his ordeal.

Thomas Yadegary came seeking refugee status in 1993, but was turned down.  He worked as a chef until 2004 when he was jailed for two-and-a-half years for refusing to sign deportation papers for fear of being persecuted in Iran as he is now a Christian.

Yadegary has now been bailed to a friend's house.

Chris Kelly says Yadegary is doing really well and is relieved to be back with friends.

He says he holds no grudge against the Corrections Department.  Yadegary paid the tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills by working several jobs.

Kelly says his bail has nothing to do with whether he can stay in New Zealand, and they are hoping to know more about it next week.  He says they are not sure what the process is to determine whether he can stay.

The government is being urged to show some compassion over the case.

Green MP Keith Locke says Yadegary lived a blemish-free life in New Zealand for 13-years before being jailed, after his 1993 application for refugee status was declined.

He says his future is now up to Immigration Minister David Cunliffe, who could allow him to apply for residency under the skilled migrants category.

Locke says he deserves that.

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