Save Behnam

There’s a picture on my bedroom wall that I love.

It’s a painting of flowers in shades of pink, but not bland and pretty-pretty, it is quite an intense mass of colours and shapes; the more I look at it, the more I see.

I bought the picture back in the summer, at a Barnsbury art-sale raising money towards the study and living costs of the artist, a refugee art student called Behnam Askari. I also had the pleasure of meeting Behnam and some of his family and friends.

Not only is he a talented artist, who is making a positive contribution to our society, but Behnam simply cannot go back to Iran. In his absence he has been sentenced to 5 years in prison, and 70 lashes, simply because some of his friends allegedly printed anti-regime literature, and distributed it from Behnam’s family home. The sort of activity, in other words, that my Lib Dem team and I do all the time; and an integral part of life in any free society.

So it’s shaming that our, supposedly free, country is the one threatening to deport Behnam and his mum, to face prison and flogging. The good news is that a dynamic woman, Pauline Levis, is leading the campaign to save them.

You can read more about the campaign, and sign the petition to save Behnam, here, and there’s a Facebook group too.


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