Benjamin Cohen, London
A Gay Iranian faces deportation to his home country where three gay men have been executed in the past few weeks.
The man, aged 29, who has not been named for legal reason fled the country after his gay friend was arrested as a result of a video seized by religious police that allegedly shows the men kissing.
Mr Justice Freeman who ruled on the asylum appeal found that there was no evidence that the video existed and that the man would not necessarily be at any risk if he was deported to Iran.
The Judge found that “He [the asylum seeker] says he fled when he realised a member of his coterie had been arrested by them, apparently leaving an incriminating video in their hands, showing unseemly activity on the part of this appellant and others.” Mr Freeman also refers to the asylum seeker as “engaging in buggery” and describes being gay as a “predilection.”
The Judge’s decision has been criticised by Ben Summerskill of the equality charity, Stonewall, who called for his resignation in a letter sent to the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke. Mr Summerskill claimed that the Freeman’s language “could raise fears parts of the judiciary were institutionally homophobic.”
However, earlier this year, in the first ruling of its kind, an Appeal Court Judge, Lord Justice Keene, quashed the judgement of an Immigration Appeal Tribunal that denied a gay Palestinian asylum seeker the right to an immigration appeal.
It is known that at least two gay Muslim asylum seekers have committed suicide rather than risk deportation to Iran. It is also believed that some four thousand gay men have been executed for their sexuality in Iran since their Islamic Revolution of 1979.