Simon Jeans is an Australian lawyer specialising in immigration. He was appointed as a member of the Australian Migration Review Tribunal & Refugee Review Tribunal so could be considered an expert. As a member he made decisions on migration and refugee visa applications so this is an area he has specialist knowledge of.
Last week he tweeted Green MP Golriz Ghahraman to disagree with her statement that no human right is absolute (she was supporting the deplatforming of Southern) and said what Ghahraman wasn’t true as some human rights are absolute such as the right not to be tortured.
In return Ghahraman blocked him on Twitter. He had never been blocked before, let alone by an MP. And merely for saying the right not to be tortured is an absolute right. So he started to scrutinise Ghahraman, and has now done this blog post.
In it has casts serious doubts on her claims about her life in Iran. Some of these issues have been canvassed previously, and as I recall Ghahraman has conceded where she lived was never bombed, but she visited relatives in Tehran that was bombed. Jeans points out that even Tehran only had bombing for a relatively brief 52 day period. So hard to match that up with the statement “Most of Golriz Ghahraman’s childhood memories are of war“.
Others previously have scrutinised these claims, but what is somewhat different here is Jeans is a expert lawyer on Iranian refugees as he has represented Iranian refugees since 1994, and has sat on a tribunal deciding on applications.
He also disagrees with her portrayal of her family as refugees and asylum seekers saying if they were allowed to leave on holiday, they were not regarded by the Iranian Government as hostile to the regime. But against that is the fact they were given asylum by the NZ Government, indicating they must have had a credible case.
I’m not sure the blog posts tell us anything we didn’t already know, which is at best a well documented tendency to exaggerate. But there is perhaps a lesson in this, about not blocking fellow human rights advocates on Twitter, just because they disagree with you.