Teacher Outcry at Students Detention

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Brisbane teachers have taken “historic” industrial action in their campaign to release an asylum-seeking high school student from a detention centre.

More than 50 teachers from Yeronga State High School, including principal Terry Heath, staged the strike in support of 21-year-old Mojgan Shamsalipoor on Tuesday afternoon.

Asylum seeker Ms Shamsalipoor was months away from graduating at the school when a failed visa application saw her forcibly removed from the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre in August and taken to a Darwin detention centre.

A spokeswoman for immigration minister Peter Dutton says he stands by the authorities’ decision to refuse the student refugee status and she should be deported.

“This is historic action,” said teacher Jessica Walker, who is leading the campaign to free Ms Shamsalipoor.

“Teachers have taken industrial action because of human rights abuses for the first time.

“It’s hugely significant and it’s only the beginning.”

After being refused refugee status, campaigners are now asking for Mr Dutton to allow Ms Shamsalipoor, who married fellow student Milad Jafari, also 21, to apply for a partner visa without the need to return to her native Iran.

“He has the power to do that and we urge him to do the right thing,” Ms Walker added.

Ms Shamsalipoor arrived illegally (sic – it is not illegal to seek asylum) in Australia by boat in 2012 after fleeing Iran to escape sexual abuse and an arranged marriage to a man in his 60s.

Dozens of students joined their teachers in a rally outside the school to call for the release of Ms Shamsalipoor, who managed to complete her year 12 studies from the detention centre with the help of the school.

In a speech directed at Mr Dutton, 17-year-old Eden Boyd said: “As young Australians we feel betrayed by the injustice of this situation.”

MP Mark Bailey said he supported the community campaign and has urged Mr Dutton to grant a visa to the student, who fears she will be killed if she returns to Iran.

AAP Photos by Mark Gillespie

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