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Gay Iranian Won't Be Deported to Iran by the UK

Posted by libhom Sunday, May 25, 2008

This is a follow up to a previous post on George Galloway's homophobic comments on the Kazemi case. Hat tip to Blazing Indiscretions. From the Independent UK 5/21/08:

Gay student who faced execution in Iran granted asylum in Britain

By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A gay man who faces the death penalty in Iran has won asylum in the UK after protests prompted the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to reconsider his case.

Family and supporters of Mehdi Kazemi, now 20, welcomed the decision yesterday not to send him back to Iran where his boyfriend was arrested by the state police and executed for sodomy.

Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey, said: "I am delighted by the Home Office decision that my constituent Mehdi Kazemi can now stay in this country. This is great news for a very decent guy."

Mr Kazemi came to London to study in 2005, but in April 2006 discovered his gay partner had been arrested and named him as his boyfriend before his execution. Fearing he might suffer the same fate if he returned, Mr Kazemi decided to seek asylum in Britain. His claim was refused and he fled to the Netherlands where he also failed to win asylum before returning to Britain last month.

His case won support from MPs and peers who signed petitions supporting his claim for refugee status in this country, prompting a surprise intervention by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, who agreed to reconsider the case.

In an open letter to the British Government, Mr Kazemi told the Home Secretary: "I wish to inform the Secretary of State that I did not come to the UK to claim asylum. I came here to study and return to my country. But in the past few months my situation back home has changed. The Iranian authorities have found out that I am a homosexual and they are looking for me."

Yesterday, the UK Border Agency said it had decided to allow him asylum, granting him leave to remain for five years. A spokesman for the agency said: "We keep cases under review where circumstances have changed and it has been decided that Mr Kazemi should be granted leave to remain."

I just hope that five years is long enough or that his asylum is renewed. It is terrible enough that his boyfriend was murdered by the heterosexist, fundamentalist regime in Iran. It would be even worse if Kazemi was murdered too.

Read Kazemi's Thank You Note to His Supporters


1 Responses to Gay Iranian Won't Be Deported to Iran by the UK

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Thanks for posting on this. I saw a headline recently but didn't get a chance to catch up. I'm so glad this guy is safe, at least for now. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that some still don't believe gays are targeted in some countries, and it's all so frightening when we realize that us queers actually have few guaranteed freedoms. Makes me want to grab my purse and hit the streets!



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