Iranian doctor may be hanged
TODAY an Iranian doctor is fleeing the Fraser Coast.
Now somewhere over Dubai, Dr Sanaz Yazdani is going home to Iran.
She may be hanged after she gets there.
Her four years in Australia, half of them in Hervey Bay, were often not kind to her.
She fell into serious credit card debt, became homeless and spent nights sleeping in her second-hand car, which she abandoned a few weeks ago in Mackay because, after more than a thousand dollars paying repairers, it still didn’t start.
Finally, with no one to turn to and nowhere to go, she loudly broke down in a street in Mackay where the RACQ repairer called the police and they arrested her and charged her with being a public nuisance.
Now, as her plane heads towards Tehran, this educated woman who turned her back on Islam and converted to Christianity in Australia soon after she arrived in 2006 has had to discard her new faith.
Dr Yazdani, 34, raised in an upper class family north of Tehran, graduated in medicine in Iran in 2001 and practised there for four years, including her two years of government compulsory service working with the poor.
“I managed to get hold of a Bible and it was then I knew I had to leave Iran for my safety and I chose Australia because I heard it was a welcoming, free country and that I could practice medicine and my new faith there.
She passed her Australian medical exams and was hired as a doctor, working under supervision in a coastal town in north Queensland.
She worked 10-hour-plus days, seeing up to 60 patients, and finally in another practice a supervising doctor wrote a negative report about her to the Medical Board.
“I had arrived in Hervey Bay to take up a new job but found I wasn’t allowed to. I was told I had to sit my Australian exams all over again because their tenure had expired.
“Yet no one ever asked my patients how they felt about me as a doctor. I was just cut off and out and that was it. No chance to explain my own point of view at all.”
A Hervey Bay Christian couple took her in and she studied again for her exams from their basement room. She was also granted a refugee protection visa by the government.
“But it was when I received the letter that I had failed my English reading exam, which I’d passed the first time round with good results, that something snapped in me.
“I don’t remember much except the couple asked me to leave. I had no job, no money. I was out of my mind with stress.”
Dr Yazdani headed north to Mackay. Her father Jafur and her mother Iran sent her money to support her but she soon went through it, paying for accommodation, her credit card interest and her failing car.
In September last year the Mackay police handcuffed her in the street and put her in the watch-house for five hours. She was freed on bail.
A few days later two people came to collect her. The doctor had been “sectioned”, committed under our Mental Health Act.
Eventually as a voluntary patient she moved back to the Bay and two weeks ago her parents arrived to try to resolve her crisis.
Jafur and Iran love their daughter passionately, their first of three children.
“We want to take our daughter home to Iran to look after her,” they said this week.
“She can save lives in Iran as a good Muslim doctor.”
There is a slight glitch in that one.
Dr Yazdani has committed a capital crime by turning her back on Islam. She could be hanged for converting to Christianity.
“I put it all down to the fact I was terribly stressed,” she said.
“I accept my Muslim faith again with all my heart. I must go home and my parents will look after me until I can work as a doctor again.
“I love Australia and I thank so many incredible friends here.
“I will never forget you. Thank you.”
Safe landing, Sanaz.