An Iranian student activist facing deportation on a technical violation of U.S. immigration law called yesterday for support of his demands that the government drop the charges against him and that civil liberties for foreign students be guaranteed.
Babak Zahraie, a student at the University of Washington in Seattle, spoke yesterday at a press conference in Phillips Brooks House and urged local citizens to join in a national organization which has been working to build public support for his position.
Zahraie, who was ordered deported by the Seattle Immigration Office a year ago, will challenge the decision in Federal court within the next few months.
Zahraie was originally seized by immigration officers in February 1972. At the time, he was the president of a national organization dedicated to freeing Iranian political prisoners and the head of several other campus activist groups.
After charges of subversion and conspiracy were ruled out of order, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) hearing officer ruled that Zahraie was to be deported for making a trip to and from Canada without the proper papers.
Zahraie said that in his defense in the upcoming trial he will challenge the discretionary powers of the INS.
However, he said, the central issue of the trial will be whether foreign students are protected under the First Amendment.
Zahraie, an outspoken critic of both the U.S. and Iranian governments, said he opposes the suspension of civil rights, the suspension of civil rights, the suspension of the Iranian Parliament, and the suppression of political opposition by imprisonment and execution by the Shah's government.
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