MEP’s Home Office meetings about gay Iranian
The President of the European Parliament´s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights is today holding a series of high level meetings with senior members of the Home Office.
Michael Cashman, who is one of two openly gay MEPs, is meeting the government officials following the return to the UK of Mehdi Kazemi.
“I trust that the UK government will do the right thing in relation to Mehdi,” he said.
There has been concern in Europe about the 19-year-old’s case. 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 Medhi as someone with whom he had had a relationship.
Medhi’s father then received a visit from the Tehran police, with an arrest warrant for his son.
In late April 2006, Medhi’s uncle told him Parham had been put to death.
Mehdi’s request for asylum was turned down by the United Kingdom.
After fearing for his life he fled to Netherlands and sought asylum there.
However, under the terms of an EU treaty, asylum seekers must be returned to the first state where they claimed asylum.
He was returned to the UK last week but the Home Office has promised to review his case.
If they decide to again reject his asylum appeal he will be returned to Iran.
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More than 60 members of the House of Lords wrote to Home Secretary last month urging the government to “show compassion” to Mr Kazemi.
The Independent newspaper mounted a campaign on his behalf and members of the European Parliament called on the UK not to deport him.
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.
The British government has been accused of being more inclined to believe Iran than human rights groups on the issue of how gay people are treated in that country.
In March Lord West of Spithead, Home Office minister in the Lords, said:
“We are not aware of any individual who has been executed in Iran in recent years solely on the grounds of homosexuality, and we do not consider that there is systematic persecution of gay men in Iran.”