A gay teenager from Iran who fled the UK for the Netherlands last year after his appeal for asylum was refused is expected to be returned to the UK today by Dutch authorities.
London Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford has written to the Home Secretary to request her to urgently review the case of 19-year-old Medhi Kazemi, who faces possible execution by stoning if he returns to Iran.
Baroness Ludford, who is the Liberal Democrat European justice spokesperson and a member of the European Parliament’s Gay and Lesbian Rights Intergroup, said:
“Jacqui Smith must recognise and act on the real threat of persecution and even execution which Mr Kazemi would face if he was to be deported to Iran.
“As with Ms Pegah Emambakhsh, an Iranian lesbian who was granted a reassessment of her own asylum case after I and other parliamentarians intervened, we need the Home Office to accept the facts and genuinely consider the risks of deportation.
“We cannot on the one hand claim that we live in a modern and liberal society if on the other hand we are willing to send asylum seekers back to face stoning purely because of their sexuality.”
At the end of last year a court in the Netherlands ruled Medhi must be returned back to the UK.
He fled England last spring after his visa ran out and a Home Office tribunal dismissed his appeal against deportation.
It is feared that if Medhi is ordered to be deported back to Iran he may face execution for being gay.
Medhi left Iran in 2004 to travel to England on a student visa and continue his education.
While he was in the UK he learned that Iranian authorities had arrested his boyfriend Parham back in Iran, and that his boyfriend had been forced to name Medhi as someone with whom he had had a relationship.
Medhi’s father had then received a visit from the Tehran police, with an arrest warrant for his son as they wanted to put him on trial.
In late April, Medhi’s uncle told him Parham had been put to death.
The Canada-based Iranian Queer Organisation, said:
“The European governments claim to be the champions of human rights and democracy and condemn Iran frequently for its violation of human rights; and yet they willingly pave the road for the government of Iran to go ahead with its human rights abuses, and
arrest and execute an identified Iranian gay.
“Today, they sentence Medhi to torture and possible death by deporting him to Iran, and tomorrow they issue statements commending this violent and unlawful act of execution.”
Human rights group EveryOne has started a campaign to save Medhi.
“We are asking the European Union to adopt a tough stance and overrule the decision taken by Gordon Brown’s Government,” the group in a statement.
“The United Kingdom is continuing undaunted to violate the international conventions on human rights and the rights of refugees, as well as the European directives and laws which determine the requests for political asylum.
“They did it with the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakhsh, when they refused her refugee status, claiming she was unable to prove her homosexuality.”
EveryOne is making an official appeal to the European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, to put an immediate stop to the deportation and ensure Medhi is given refugee status.
On January 31st the European Commission said:
“Member states cannot expel or refuse refugee status to homosexual persons without taking into account their sexual preferences, the information relevant to the situation in their country of origin, including the laws and ways in which they are applied.”
Medhi will have to be repatriated to his country of origin because according to the British government, he does not run any risk there.
Medhi fled in secret from England, intending to take refuge in Canada, but was blocked by the German border police.
After hearing his story, he was sent to Holland, a country known for granting refugee status to Iranian homosexuals, and again handed over to the police.
However, the United Kingdom sent a formal request to Holland asking for Medhi’s return to Britain, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.
There is an on-line petition site with the details of the case < href=”http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/UKMADHI” target=”_blank”>click here has been established by UK-based gay asylum activist Omar Kuddus.
Omar is working in consultation with the boy’s uncle, who lives in the UK.
For more information click here.