Protest over prisoners

Iranian Foad Saymari pictured with fellow Iranians outside the Central Library before cycling to Middlesbrough.

Iranian Foad Saymari pictured with fellow Iranians outside the Central Library before cycling to Middlesbrough.

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THE town’s Iranian community got on their bikes to raise awareness of the treatment of prisoners in their homeland.

Members of the Hartlepool Asylum and Refugee Group came together for the cycle ride when they pedalled 12 miles from Hartlepool to Middlesbrough.

They said they staged the public exercise to raise greater awareness of the Iranian Government;s treatment of political prisoners and to put pressure on Amnesty International to act.

Abbas Mokhtari, a member of Hartlepool Asylum Seeker and Refugee Group, said: “We are trying to be the voice of people in prison in Iran that nobody really knows about.

“The government doesn’t answer to anyone and prisoner’s families don’t know if they are even still alive.

“One man called Saeed Zeinali was arrested 14 years ago after taking part in a student protest.

“The only communication his family had with him was after a couple of months then they heard nothing from him.

“Nobody has given them any information whether he is still alive or even where he is.”

The cyclists carried a banner and posters to help highlight their cause .

They were joined by other members of the Iranian community from Middlesbrough.

Hartlepool Asylum and Refugee Group is a bi-monthly group which is supported by the town’s voluntary sector including Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency (HVDA).

It provides a range of support services to help refugees and asylum seekers settle and progress in the town.