Mehdi Kazemi Has Been Granted Asylum in the UK
EveryOne Group: “A memorable success we share with the Radical Party and Nessuno Tocchi Caino (Hands off Cain). Thanks to an extraordinary campaign the regulations for granting asylum in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe have been changed. We succeeded because we refuse to accept unjust laws that ignore the value of human life”.
Seyed Mehdi Kazemi, the 20-year-old Iranian homosexual, a member of EveryOne Group who risked deportation to Teheran on several occasions (where he would have suffered imprisonment, harsh corporal punishment and probably been hung) has obtained asylum in the United Kingdom. He received notification of the decision from the Home Office on Monday May 19th, 2008. The boy had attempted to escape deportation to Teheran from the United Kingdom by fleeing to Canada, but he was stopped on the German border and transferred temporarily to Holland, a nation usually in favour of granting asylum to Iranian homosexuals. But on February 26th a flight was arranged from Amsterdam to London and it seemed that once back in the UK Mehdi risked deportation to Teheran again. “They were days of great worry as we attempted an amazing nonviolent struggle”, say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau of EveryOne”, “days in which we fought side by side with the Radical Party and the association Nessuno Tocchi Caino, literally inventing a new way of battling for human rights, drawing into our battle the world’s media, hundreds of associations and thousands of activists. Our first step was to block the deportation, appealing to the sense of justice of the Dutch government which agreed to review Mehdi’s case. In the meantime we also upset the expulsion system of refugees in the United Kingdom – an unjust system which was taking place among indifference and the silence of the media. Then with our friends from the Radical Party we presented a report-appeal to the European Parliament that showed without a doubt that Mehdi had a right to asylum and that serious abuse was being carried out by the Home Office itself”. The European Parliament approved an urgent resolution for Mehdi Kazemi’s case, a resolution that was also signed by 142 MPs from the British House of Commons and 62 Lords. Europe and the United Kingdom itself finally recognised the need to change the procedure for evaluating and granting refugee status and political asylum. “It was a resounding defeat for the persecutory policies of Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith,” say the leaders of EveryOne, “a defeat that marked the decline in their star – but for the rights of refugees, the gay community, for activists throughout the world, for the minorities in Iran and countries where freedom is denied, it was a victory to remember”. But the real good news for young Mehdi (whose partner Parham was murdered by the executioner in Iran) arrived on May 19th. The British Embassy in Rome, on behalf of the British Government, wrote to EveryOne Group, communicating their joy for an event that no one believed possible when we first began the campaign against the deportation of homosexual refugees from the UK, and saved from deportation (thanks to the worldwide success of the Flowers Campaign) Pegah Emambakhsh. “How can a group like yours, without funding or protection from powers high up, expect to change the attitude of one of the most powerful governments in the world?” they said. We won because we believed in what we were doing, because we refused to accept the logic of inhumanity and death.
We won because we refused to give up, because in the event of Mehdi being deported, we were willing to fly to Teheran to demonstrate with placards, appealing to the executioners to spare the lives of Mehdi and Pegah (whom we trust will also receive good news very soon) and all the innocent people condemned to death due to unjust laws that cancel out the value of human life.”
While they celebrate this news, the members of EveryOne flourish copies of the email received from the British Embassy: “We are extremely happy to communicate this news: today in London a final decision was reached on Seyed Mehdi Kazemi’s case. After a re-examination of the case and in light of the new circumstances, as requested by the British Home Secretary, Mr Kazemi is now free to remain in the United Kingdom”.