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Iranian lesbian granted asylum in the UK

PinkNews Staff Writer February 12, 2009

A gay woman has been granted refugee status after three years battling the UK’s asylum system.

Yesterday it was confirmed that Pegah Emambakhsh will be allowed to remain in the UK.

The 42-year-old Iranian sought asylum in 2005.

She escaped from her home country after her partner was arrested, tortured, and subsequently sentenced to death by stoning.

Her father was also arrested, interrogated and tortured for information on her whereabouts.

The claim for asylum was rejected by the UK Border and Immigration Agency (BIA), despite her appeals.

Ms Emambakhsh was arrested in Sheffield in August 2007 and taken to Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.

She was due to be deported, but her removal from the UK was stalled by the late intervention of the office of Sheffield Central Member of Parliament Richard Caborn.

Her sexual orientation and her past life in Iran may have led to her being executed.

Many lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs came to power in 1979.

According to gay rights group Outrage: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is qualitatively more homophobic than almost any other state on earth.”

More: Middle East

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