The man, in his 30s, fled Iran for Australia four years ago after converting from Islam to Christianity - an offence punishable by death in his home country, according to the Refugee Action Collective. But the federal government has rejected his bid for asylum and he has exhausted all possible appeals.
By David Crawshaw
The federal government will try to deport an Iranian asylum seeker from Australia after three unsuccessful attempts to force him to leave, a refugee group said.
The man, in his 30s, fled Iran for Australia four years ago after converting from Islam to Christianity - an offence punishable by death in his home country, according to the Refugee Action Collective.
But the federal government has rejected his bid for asylum and he has exhausted all possible appeals.
The group said the man, who has asked that his name not be released, forced Immigration Department officials to abandon attempts to deport him from Melbourne airport last week and early this week.
Refugee Action Collective spokeswoman Madilyn Gorman said the man began screaming uncontrollably when officials tried to force him onto flights, prompting one airline, Emirates, to refuse to carry him.
Emirates declined to confirm or deny the incidents in Melbourne, saying it could not comment on any passenger.
After a third failed attempt to deport the man on Monday, immigration officials loaded him onto a vehicle and drove him to Sydney, possibly to the Villawood detention centre, she said.
"They tried to deport him and another man last Tuesday at Melbourne but he basically said 'I refuse to go back to Iran', and he put his head down and kept shouting," she said.
"The airlines are nervous about deporting people."
Ms Gorman said the government was planning to deport the asylum seeker from Sydney airport on Tuesday night, possibly on an Emirates flight to Dubai.
She said the man arrived in Australia by boat four years ago and was held in the now-defunct Curtin detention centre in Western Australia, then at the Baxter facility in South Australia and later at the Maribyrnong centre in Melbourne.
He feared he would be killed if the government sent him back to Iran, she said.
Comment was being sought from the Immigration Department.
The case comes after Australia's highest-profile asylum seekers, the Bakhtiari family, were deported on December 30 after failing in their bid to stay in Australia.