An Iranian woman, who fears she will be killed when deported to her homeland, has gone missing amid desperate attempts by her family to keep her in New Zealand.
Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove told Parliament today Bahareh Moradi had absconded and was "currently being located" so a removal order could be served.
Ms Moradi, 25, was still missing tonight. Before her disappearance she had been living in Birkenhead, Auckland.
She failed to attend a meeting with immigration officials and had not reported to police as part of her bail conditions on Sunday night. A warrant has been issued for her arrest, a spokesman for Associate Immigration Minister Shane Jones said tonight.
Mr Jones has refused to intervene against Ms Moradi's deportation.
She has been through several appeal channels in her attempt to stay in New Zealand. Her three brothers live in New Zealand and have refugee status. They have been trying to negotiate for her to stay and are understood to be applying to the Court of Appeal as a final bid.
The family's fear is that she will be killed because of her conversion to Christianity in 2004, as conversion from Islam to Christianity is a sin under Sharia law, punishable by death. They have claimed they have been persecuted in Iran.
Ms Moradi was first declined for refugee status in 2006. An appeal against that decision was turned down by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority last year. It called her conversion to Christianity into question.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said in Parliament today Ms Moradi had come to New Zealand through "all sorts of fictitious passports via her brother, who himself smuggled three people into this country, all who gave false reasons for being here."
He quizzed Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove over this issue, saying Ms Moradi's older brother, who is not in New Zealand, had visited Korea 12 times between 2002 and 2005. "How does that epitomise a man or family being persecuted?"
Mr Cosgrove did not answer that, but said after the Refugee Status Appeal Authority had declined Ms Moradi's appeal, the matter had gone to the High Court and was also declined, while Mr Jones had refused to intervene.
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