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Monday 28 July  
Kambiz Roustayi
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Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Netherlands failed to help self-immolation victim

Published on : 8 April 2011 - 1:29pm | By Johan van der Tol (Photo: Nieuwsuur screenshot)
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On Wednesday, Kambiz Roustayi set himself on fire on Dam Square in Amsterdam’s city centre. A day later the 36-year-old Iranian died of his injuries. A friend of his, Parvis Noshirrani told Dutch television that Mr Roustayi talked about committing suicide when they were in an asylum centre together. But he received no help from the Dutch authorities.

“He was fed up with the situation. Roaming the city, sleeping in the streets. No status, no travel documents, no future. If he had returned to Iran, he probably faced the same fate. He was scared of being arrested and executed,” Mr Noshirrani told current affairs programme Nieuwsuur.

Pressure
Mr Noshirrani had to break the tragic news to Mr Roustayi’s family in Iran. His self-immolation was filmed on mobile phones. Mr Roustayi had been in the Netherlands for 11 years and expected to be deported. He fled to the Netherlands after he says he published articles in Iran which the authorities disapproved of. His requests for asylum failed each time.

Mr Roytayi’s lawyer Frank van Haren saw that his client was under severe mental pressure.
“He would look at me for a long time. Sometimes he would interrupt a conversation in which we were being positive by saying, ‘Do you really believe that?’ There were all kinds of signs.”

Responsibility
Mr Roustayi announced he was planning to commit suicide at a meeting with civil servants on 25 March at the asylum centre. But his friend Mr Noshirrani says he was not taken seriously and was not given help. Earlier this week, he wanted to jump in front of a train, but his friend persuaded him not to.

Mr Van Haren is also very critical of the Dutch authorities: “The authorities may be right to reject an asylum request and deport an asylum seeker, but if he is still here after eight or ten years and you see him deteriorating, and become mentally finished, only physically okay, there comes a time when the authorities have to take responsibility. You cannot just show someone the door.”

Legal assistance
Mr Roustayi’s act of desperation had a clear goal, says Mr Noshirrani. “He wanted to save other lives by ending his own. There are plenty of people in asylum centres, there are plenty of people who are deported without mercy.”

Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers called Mr Roustayi’s death ‘very tragic’, but says all the procedures were followed correctly and that the man was given proper legal assistance.

Second death
The Iranian embassy in The Hague says it is regrettable that an Iranian citizen abroad finds himself in such a difficult position that he kills himself. The Netherlands should in their words improve the ‘unacceptable situation of immigrants’. The embassy says it’s the second death in a week. It is not clear who the first case was. The Iranian embassy was unavailable for comment this morning.

 

Discussion

Konstantin 11 April 2011 - 12:45pm / Germany

Shame on IND!Will anything move forward now? This tragedy comes together with other tragedies in the unhappy Kingdom. Nothing happened after the pedophile case, nothing will happen after Alphen killing, after Roustayi. No head will roll. What an incredible U-turn for a noble country. Now it is the dictatorship of institution, unquestionable authorities, fear to speak up, nobody dares to say that the police is not doing their job. Fear and resentment, memories of the time when NL was democratic, brave, open, tolerant. With this government, with this type of capitalism, and cruel institutions NL is entering into its darkest age. Royal Dutch Shell burns people well!

ann christensen 9 April 2011 - 8:32pm / sweden

ingen människa är illegal
no human being is ilegal

Anonymous 9 April 2011 - 10:20am / NL

Netherlands is as responsible from this situation as Iran is. In a country so self-centered and so intolerant to others,I can understand how he was isolated and repressed. 11 years of torture they have made him suffer. 11 years of uncertainty and hopelessness. I even think he might have had more chances of getting emotional support in Iran, even on the street from other people, despite the risks of getting executed.It is really to heavy to digest...

Anonymous 9 April 2011 - 10:20am

dasda

Anonymous 9 April 2011 - 10:19am / NL

Netherlands is as responsible from this situation as Iran is. In a country so self-centered and so intolerant to others,I can understand how he was isolated and repressed. 11 years of torture they have made him suffer. 11 years of uncertainty and hopelessness. I even think he might have had more chances of getting emotional support in Iran, even on the street from other people, despite the risks of getting executed.It is really to heavy to digest...

Babak 9 April 2011 - 8:39am / NL

Iranian government is responsible for all of this. They have made Iran a big prison. So everybody is trying to escape! and now they say Netherlands should improve the situation!!!!!!! so funny!

C.C. 9 April 2011 - 1:43am / New Zealand.

So what constitutes 'proper legal assistance?' And why is The Netherlands continuously taking in more refugees if it can't provide for these people?

Anonymous 12 April 2011 - 11:01pm / NL

Because countries like yours won't, that's why!

H. 8 April 2011 - 8:55pm / Amsterdam;  Netherlands

 
NL Amerika it ain't, right?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKqUglOC3_8
 

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