Headmaster explains Bakhtiyari backflip

The headmaster of the Adelaide Jesuit school attended by deported asylum seekers Alamdar and Montazar, yesterday suggested they had turned on their lawyers because of the failed strategy of attempting asylum at the British Consulate in Melbourne.

CLICK HEREThe Australian reports that the teenage sons of Australia's highest-profile asylum-seekers, the Bakhtiyari family, have apologised to the Howard Government for the "lies" of their advocates they now say prompted their deportation.

At the end of last month, the Government turned down requests to reopen the case after reports that Departmental officials had mistakenly concluded that their claim to be from Afghanisatan - and not Pakistan - were false.

The boys came to national prominence in 2002 when refugee activists deposited them at the British consulate in Melbourne and demanded they be given asylum after facilitating their escape from the now-defunct Woomera detention centre.

In an interview with the ABC's Lateline aired last night, Alamdar, 16, and Montazar, 14, apologised to the Federal Government, appealing to be allowed to return to Australia to complete their education.

"I don't blame the Australian Government for all this ... I blame those who said they were helping us but they were not."

Until they left Australia at the beginning of this year, they had been students at St Ignatius College in Adelaide.

Headmaster Fr Greg O'Kelly told The Australian that he could understand Alamdar's frustrations but felt he was being unfair.

"Alamdar is the one who has been the most bitter about his treatment ... I think he's being very unfair to those lawyers who went to considerable sacrifices on their behalf."

Alamdar's comments were also perceived as an attack on the Refugee Action Coalition, which co-ordinated the British consulate episode.

"They made a plan for us. I wasn't going to go to the British consulate, but the plan was made. We were taken and used," Alamdar said.

Fr O'Kelly said he felt it was "a rash mistake" that "gave a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old - who wouldn't even have known where Melbourne was, let alone the British consulate - a national notoriety that wouldn't have done them any good".

Meanwhile Dale West, director of Catholic welfare agency Centacare and a long-time advocate and friend of the Bakhtiyari family, said he hoped to talk to the boys about "where they're coming from".

Bakhtiyaris apologise for 'lies' (The Australian/news.com.au 6/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Saint Ignatius' College

Centacare head points finger on Bakhtiyaris (CathNews 29/9/05)

Brothers sorry for asylum lies (Herald-Sun 6/10/05)
Bakhtiyaris arrive back in Afghanistan (CathNews 20/1/05)
Bakhtiaris 'headed for Afghanistan' according to Centacare head (CathNews 5/1/05)
Bakhtiyaris deported to save face, says Centacare head (CathNews 4/1/05)
Fears for Bakhtiyaris' safety after deportation (CathNews 24/12/04)
Brigidine says Bakhtiyari family 'victims of cruel deed' (CathNews 23/12/04)
NZ refuses Bakhtiyari pleas (CathNews 21/12/04)
Headmaster blasts 'totalitarian' act on family (CathNews 21/12/04)
Students rally behind detained Bakhtiyari family (CathNews 20/12/04)
Headmaster optimistic over Bakhtiyari claims re-examination (CathNews 31/8/04)
Centacare director 'devastated' by Govt demands (CathNews 30/6/04)
Bishop's increased concern over Baxter situation (CathNews 13/12/04)

6 Oct 2005