MEP Michael Cashman has said he will raise the case of Mehdi Kazemi in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.

The 19-year-old Iranian is currently being held in Holland and is fighting legal moves to return him to the UK, where he is likely to face deportation to his homeland.

He had unsuccessfully applied for asylum in the United Kingdom following the execution of his partner by Iranian authorities after being found guilty of sodomy.

“I believe that Mr Kazemi faces certain persecution if he returns to Iran and his life would be imperilled,” Mr Cashman, who is President of the Parliament’s Lesbian and Gay Intergroup, told PinkNews.co.uk.

“I am glad that case will allow the European Parliament to reaffirm its commitment to protecting fundamental human rights and I urge the UK authorities to take note of the recommendations of the motion.”

He has co-signed a motion which will be considered by Parliament this week.

The resolution highlights that EU asylum law has to be applied by member states on an individual case basis and that persecution for sexual orientation should be an automatic ground to grant asylum.

Cashman, who is one of only two out gay MEPs, co-initiated the resolution on behalf of the Socialist Group in the Parliament.

Last week The Independent newspaper devoted its front page to Mehdi Kazemi’s plight as he appeared in a Dutch court asking to be allowed to remain in the Netherlands.

Under the terms of an EU treaty, asylum seekers must be returned to the first state where they claimed asylum.

Holland offers special protection for gay Iranians, which is why Mehdi went there.

He fled England last spring after his visa ran out and a Home Office tribunal dismissed his appeal against deportation.

A Dutch court will now decide if he can remain there.

At the end of last year a court in the Netherlands ruled Mehdi must be returned back to the UK.

It is feared that if Mehdi is ordered to be deported back to Iran he may face execution for being gay.

Since Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979, human rights groups estimate that between 3,000 and 4,000 people have been executed under Sharia law for the crime of homosexuality.

He left Iran in 2004 to travel to England on a student visa and continue his education.

Two years later while still 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 Mehdi as someone with whom he had had a relationship.

Mehdi’s father then received a visit from the Tehran police, with an arrest warrant for his son.

In late April 2006, Mehdi’s uncle told him Parham had been put to death.

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.”