Saturday, February 27, 2010

Good news: Behnam can stay!

BEAUTY from an artist under threat. Mirror, Butterflies and Freedom stepping from behind bars with peace dove.

NOT often we get a bit of good news to wite about in this blog, but I'm pleased to be able to pass some on.
The Home Office has relented and agreed that young Iranian artist Behnam Askari, his mother Masoumeh, and his younger brother, Behrad, have indefinite leave to stay in Britain.

The family had come here for his father's job, but when Dad returned to Tehran on a visit he was arrested.

Fortunately he managed to get a message warning them not to return. The Iranian authorities had arrested two students who had been staying at the family flat, for possessing anti-government leaflets, and decided it was a conspiracy. Behnam and his mother faced flogging and jail if they returned to Iran.

The British authorities did not seem concerned about the consequences of sending them back.

Staff and students at Behnam's school, Quintin Kyneston, in north-west London, protested on the family's behalf. One of his teachers, Pauline, took retirement , but carried on campaigning.
Behnam, winning a place at St.Martin's school of art, carried on painting, and his art was exhibited as part of the campaign.

Friends raised funds, and collected signatures on petitions.

So congratulations to Behnam and his mom, and to friends like Pauline who persisted in campaigning. You got a good result. And showed people can win.

And to keep up with the creative side:

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