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Panah protesters still in custody

Published: 6:39AM Sunday September 02, 2007 Source: Newstalk ZB

Three demonstrators who were arrested after chaining themselves to Mt Eden prison spent Saturday night in custody.

The three refused to sign bail papers after they were arrested at a protest in support of Iranian asylum seeker Ali Panah, who is now on the 52nd day of his hunger strike.

Panah has refused to sign a deportation order, claiming it would be unsafe for him to return to Iran.

Global Peace and Justice Auckland says the three demonstrators are also refusing food for as long as they are in custody.

They are expected to appear in court on Monday.

Meanwhile the Green Party is calling for urgent government intervention over Panah.

MP Keith Locke says Panah is spiritually strong and very determined, but his body is weakening. He says Panah's stomach and liver are sore and the weight is dropping off him.

Locke says Panah is a warm and gentle man who deserves better from New Zealand.

Anglican Archbishop David Moxon planned to visit the Auckland Central Remand Prison on Sunday morning to offer pastoral care.