Mehdi Kazemi: Iranian Gay Refugee Risks Deportation From the United Kingdom, Urgent Appeal to Europe
IRANIAN GAY REFUGEE RISKS DEPORTATION FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM, URGENT APPEAL TO EUROPE
EVERYONE GROUP: “SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR HIS HOMOSEXUALITY, WE MUST STOP THE UMPTEENTH VIOLATION OF A REFUGEE’S RIGHTS BY THE BROWN GOVERNMENT”
THE FLIGHT THAT WILL TAKE YOUNG MEHDI KAZEMI FROM AMSTERDAM TO LONDON, FROM WHERE HE WILL BE DEPORTED TO IRAN, IS BOOKED FOR TUESDAY FEBRUARY 26TH. EVERYONE GROUP IS APPEALING TO THE EUROPEAN UNION TO OVERRULE THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT’S DECISION, AND GRANT THE 19-YEAR-OLD POLITICAL ASYLUM. MEHDI HAS RECENTLY BECOME A REGULAR MEMBER OF EVERYONE. MEHDI IS WANTED IN IRAN AFTER HIS PARTNER – EXECUTED FOR HIS HOMOSEXUALITY IN APRIL 2006 – ADMITTED THEY WERE IN A RELATIONSHIP.
His full name is Seyed Mehdi Kazemi, he is not yet twenty, and he is one of the members of EveryOne. Mehdi is an Iranian homosexual who in November 2005 left Teheran to go and study in London. He was forced to apply for asylum to the British Home Office after the discovery, by the Iranian authorities of his homosexual relationship with another boy, who had already been sentenced to death and executed in April 2006.
Parham, his partner since the age of 15, was arrested by the Teheran police and accused of “lavat” (sodomy) after being caught by the Iranian authorities in the company of another boy while Mehdi was attending college in England. During the interrogation in jail, Parham was forced by his accusers to reveal the names of all the men he had had relationships with, among them Mehdi himself. The Iranian Police had already turned up at Mehdi’s father’s home in Teheran with an arrest warrant for his son, with the intention of sending him to trial.
A few months ago his application for asylum was turned down by the British Home Office: Mehdi will have to be repatriated to his country of origin because according to the British Government, he does not run any risk there. Mehdi therefore fled in secret from England, intending to take refuge in Canada, but he 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 has now sent a formal request to Holland asking for Mehdi’s return to Britain – according to the Treaty of Dublin, and according to regulation CE 343/2003, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.
Omar Kuddus, from the Gay Asylum UK association, tells EveryOne Group that he received a phone call from Mehdi, on February 18th, informing him that the flight that is to take him back to Britain has been arranged for Tuesday February 26th: it will leave at 8 a.m. (Dutch time) from the Amsterdam Airport of Schiphol, and arrive at Heathrow, London at about 8.30 a.m. (British time)
“We are asking the European Union to adopt a tough stance and overrule the decision taken by Gordon Brown’s Government, say the leaders of EveryOne, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, who have taken up the case. “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; they did it a month ago when they deported Ama Sumani back to Ghana. Ama is terminally ill with cancer, she had desperately asked to be treated in England seeing it would be impossible back in her country of origin.”
Everyone Group 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 boy’s deportation and ensure he is immediately recognised refugee status. Only last January 31st the European Commission took a stance stating “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”.
“It is time the European Commission’s ruling became reality”, say the representatives of EveryOne. “We invite civil society to express its indignation towards the actions of the British Government, aimed at undermining the values of freedom and dignity of the individual”.
The young man’s full story, as well as his testimony, sent to the Iranian Queer Organization, is available from Monday the 25th in Italian and English on the EveryOne website http://www.everyonegroup.com.
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