Today we launched our #StopTheDeal campaign, a Europe-wide effort to help shatter the shameful EU-Turkey Agreement once and for all.
How? By helping to save a man’s lifeShabbir Iqbal is a 40-year-old electrical engineer from a mid-sized town in the Punjab region of Pakistan, where he ran a car rental business. He is married with two children, aged 3 and 5.
One day in December 2015, a local group of Islamic extremists attacked Shabbir’s neighbour, a Christian. The extremists wanted to confiscate the neighbour’s home to convert it into a madrasa; Shabbir came to his defence.
This simple act changed Shabbir’s life irrevocably. For coming to the aid of a Christian, the extremists labelled Shabbir a heretic; the city’s chieftains decided that he and his father should abandon the town for the sake of their safety. Several members of his family and close circle have now been murdered by the extremists. His wife and children have gone into hiding. If Shabbir returns home, the extremists will almost certainly try to kill him.
So today, after a horrific journey on which his father also perished, Shabbir lives in a state of limbo in Lesvos, Greece, where he has been for nine months. He is now at risk of being deported under the terms of the March 20, 2016 EU-Turkey Agreement. You can read Shabbir’s full story here.
DiEM25 stands behind Shabbir and the effort to #StopTheDealA team of concerned European democrats in Spain and Greece, headed by the eminent Spanish former anti-corruption prosecutor Carlos Jiménez Villarejo, is working to save Shabbir. On November 29, 2016, they filed a legal action to the European Court of Justice. It’s aim: to stop Shabbir being deported to Turkey.
But if this case is successful, it will do much more than save a man’s life: it could set a legal precedent that could shatter the EU-Turkey Agreement once and for all.
When Villarejo’s team contacted us last month to support his initiative, we immediately agreed and promised them that, as DiEM25, we would stand behind this action to save Shabbir and topple the EU-Turkey agreement.
DiEM25 co-founder, Yanis Varoufakis, spoke to Shabbir on Tuesday and personally confirmed to him DiEM25’s commitment to assist his cause.
We have asked our 30,000 members and broad volunteer network across Europe to take this action further. To make our call louder.
Our advisors, coordinators, partner organisations and friends from Dublin to Prague, from Helsinki to Lisbon, are now being summoned to join this struggle for Shabbir and against the EU-Turkey deal before the EU institutions.
Specific actions to further this cause are now being planned and will be announced on DiEM25’s #StopTheDeal site.
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