Ordeal over for 2 Iranian Jews

Faramaz and Behrooz Sedgh, 23-year-old Jewish twin brothers from Iran, are back in the United States with the legal status of refugees after a 10-month ordeal of arrest, detention and repeated attempts by immigration authorities to deport them to a country which refused to admit them.

The young men, arrested last January 22 for entering the country on false passports — their only means of escaping persecution in Iran — were granted refugee status as a result of a legal battle waged on their behalf by three New York Congressmen and local Jewish and non-Jewish agencies.

The brothers had been subjected to anti-Semitic assaults by other Iranian detainees during the months they spent at the Brooklyn detention center of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). They were ordered deported last month.

CHARGES OF INHUMANE TREATMENT

The refusal of the INS to release the brothers in custody of relatives living in New York led to charges of inhumane treatment by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D. NY), one of the Congressmen who intervened on their behalf. The others are Reps. Hamilton Fish and Benjamin Gilman, both Republicans.

Their treatment drew further criticism when the brothers were shuttled four times back and forth across the Atlantic in an unsuccessful attempt by the INS to deport them to Spain, the country from which they had originally entered the U.S. and which had made it clear beforehand that they would not be admitted.

A court order by federal Judge Leo Glasser late last month halted that procedure. Subsequently, an agreement was reached whereby the illegal entry charges were dropped. The brothers were flown to Vienna under an order of expulsion. They immediately filed for re-admittance to the U.S. as refugees. The government, as per agreement, waived the one-year waiting period and granted them entry permits. The young men arrived again in New York last Thursday.

NEXT STORY