2005 Photo Contest, People in the News, 2nd prize

Paul Vreeker


11 February, 2004

Iranian asylum-seeker Mehdy Kavousi sewed up his lips and eyelids and went on hunger strike to protest against his threatened deportation from the Netherlands. That month, in a move to tighten immigration procedures, the Dutch government had proposed legislation to expel some 26,000 unsuccessful asylum-seekers. Kavousi ended his protest after 44 days, with the authorities refusing to budge. Officials had said that in order to stay with his Dutch partner, he needed to have filled out a form in Iran. The immigration department turned down his request that an exception be made to this rule. A month after ending his protest, after new information had come to light, Kavousi's case was re-opened and he was given leave to remain in the Netherlands.

About the photographer

Paul Vreeker

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