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Refugee activists released

Press Release

New York, June 3, 1999: The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) is pleased to announce the release of Habibollah Abdullahi, the IFIR Erbil branch representative, and Abdullah Veissi, a member of that branch's Executive Committee. Abdullahi and Veissi had been arrested by the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) of Iraq on May 30, 1999. The pretext given for the arrests was IFIR's "illegal activities." In reality, however, it was IFIR's successful efforts in organizing the protests of Iranian refugees that prompted the KDP of Iraq to detain IFIR's activists and deem its activities illegal.

International support was instrumental in gaining their freedom. The two were released to a mission comprising of representatives of the IFIR Secretariat (Yedi Mahmoudi), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The international solidarity was so extensive that surprised officials asked who the two were to receive such an outpouring of support. IFIR congratulates all individuals, groups and bodies who responded to its campaign and obtained the immediate and unconditional release of its refugee rights activists.

For more information, contact IFIR, GPO, P. O. Box 7051, New York, NY 10116, USA. Tel: 212-747-1046. Fax: 212-425-7260. Email:


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