• Mojgan Shamsalipoor and husband Milad Jafari. (Facebook/Milad Jafari)
The lawyer for an Iranian-born asylum seeker has implored Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to allow her to stay in the country.
Source:
SBS News
20 Mar - 5:48 PM  UPDATED 21 Mar - 9:05 PM

Kevin Kadirgamar, the solicitor for an Iranian asylum seeker currently awaiting a decision on whether she can apply for a partner visa, has urged the government to show compassion.

Ms Shamsalipoor, 23, will be allowed to remain in the country with her husband on a bridging visa after immigration officials indicated that Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would resolve the issue within a matter of months.

If she is not granted approval to apply for a partner visa, she faces returning to immigration detention, or back to Iran, where she claims she faces potential persecution and torture.

Mr Kadirgamar has implored the minister to try and understand Ms Shamsalipoor's situation.

"The minister has the power to do that (to allow her to apply) under the Migration Act, in cases where he believes it’s in the public interest and where there are compelling and compassionate reasons," he said.

"We’ve always maintained that this is one of those circumstances in which intervention is warranted."

He said her options to stay in the country are limited, being unable to apply for any visa in Australia because she arrived by boat.

"We’ve always maintained that this is one of those circumstances in which intervention is warranted."

Applications that are sponsored by Australian permanent residents who have themselves arrived by boat, such as Ms Shamsalipoor's husband, are then assigned the lowest priority in processing.

Mr Kadirgamar said the application can take years to "even be looked at".

Furthermore, Iran does not accept forcibly returned deportees, leaving her to choose between going back into immigration detention or to return voluntarily to Iran.

Last week, Ms Shamsalipoor began a change.org petition calling on Mr Dutton to allow her to remain in Australia, which, as of Tuesday, had almost 100,000 signatures.

"Unless Immigration Minister Peter Dutton urgently intervenes by exercising his discretion and allowing me to apply for a partner visa while in Australia, I’ll spend a life in limbo with the never-ending threat of indefinite detention in Australia or forced return to Iran," she said.

Related reading
More than 80,000 sign asylum-seeker appeal
An Iranian asylum seeker who wants to stay in Australia with her husband has garnered more than 80,000 supporting signatures in an online petition.

"I’m crying as I write this. I’m thinking about my dream ... I’m working in retail and saving that money to pay for further education in health science."

Ms Shamsalipoor's case rose to prominence after she was featured on Australian Story in mid-2016. The episode detailed how she fled Iran to escape an allegedly abusive stepfather and a forced marriage to a 60-year-old man as a teenager.

After arriving in Australia in 2012, Ms Shamsalipoor said she "rebuilt" her life in Australia, attending high school, making friends and marrying a "beautiful man" - before she was placed into detention following a failed visa application in 2015.

She was released in 2016 following a campaign spurred on by school friends, teachers and MP for Yeerongpilly, where Ms Shamsalipoor attended Yeronga State High School, Mark Bailey.

Recommended
Deportation order reconsidered at eleventh hour for Bangladeshi teen
A teenage girl who was facing deportation over her disability has now been granted permanent residency after the Assistant Immigration Minister reconsidered the decision.

Mr Bailey made an impassioned plea in the Queensland state parliament last year, calling on Mr Dutton to allow Shamsalipoor, who he called a "courageous young woman", to stay.

“She cannot return to Iran,” he said.

“Why? Because she stood up for herself. She fled oppression. She risked everything to escape people who did not respect her basic human rights.”

On Friday, Ms Shamsalipoor penned an opinion piece for news.com.au expressing gratitude for being able to follow her dreams in Australia, despite not being "truly free".

"Now Minister Dutton could send me back there [to Iran] ... to cut me out of the Brisbane community who’ve shown me that a woman can be powerful, have dreams and make the dreams come true, if she believes in herself and tries really hard," she wrote.

"My dream is to be a midwife. I want to start my new life here, so I can deliver special new lives to you, every day, for the rest of my life."

Mr Kadirgamar says as Ms Shamsalipoor's lawyer, he believes the minister must take into account public reaction to the case.

"It’s in line with Australian values for this Australian family unit to stay together," he said.

"Her fate rests in the hands of Minister Dutton."