IRQR: A Glance at Iranian Queer Asylum Seeker’s Life in England
Translated by Ava
At 2 am on Saturday 15th November, Saeed attempted suicide by swallowing many pills. He was taken to the emergency room at the hospital. He was in critical condition and in a coma. Due to his comatose state the doctor did not wash out his stomach. They could not give him a vomit-inducing agent because of the potential danger. The deep coma could prevent him from vomiting. Since he had overdosed and the amount of pills he had taken was so large they did not want to take any risks.
They transferred Saeed to ICU so he could be placed in intensive care. They attached an oxygen mask to him until Sunday morning close to noontime when he gained consciousness. The risk of side effects to the kidney and lungs was high so they kept him under treatment and monitoring. He was given antibiotics to prevent infection.
Later in the day they transferred him to a different section where his medical treatment continued and he was placed under supervision of the mental health team to make sure he would not try to escape.
Around 5 in the evening the mental health team came to see him and after speaking to him decided to transfer him temporarily to the Mental Health Hospital so he could be watched over incase he made another attempt at taking his life. On Friday he was transferred to the Mental Health Hospital where he resides at the moment and is under surveillance.
At this point I should mention that in the past few months Saeed has been under intense emotional stress. He was dealing with the uncertainty of his refugee application and being ignored by Home Office. On the other hand he didn’t have a work permit and received little money from *social office*. He applied multiple times for a driver’s license and was refused because he did not have a passport or visa. He had a difficult time in the house he had been given, as his housemates would ridicule and belittle him because of his sexuality. This caused him to complain repeatedly to the office that supported him but they did nothing. (Paolo is aware of this situation)
Let me remind you of the background details of Saeed’s situation in case you don’t remember:
In 1999 when Saeed was 36 years old, due to his homosexuality and the problems it created for him in Iran, he fled Iran and went to the UK where he applied for refugee status. But his claim was ignored until in 2003 they rejected his appeal in court without granting him a lawyer, cut all his support, and gave him a deportation order. Numerous lawyers refused to take on his case until it gained some attention and was picked up again and pursued until, as you know, in 2006 Home Office arrested him and took him to a detention centre in Oxford. He was there for 10 days. With much support including those of IRQR and other friends they released him but without providing any support or work permit. They also demanded that once a week he goes to London to sign documents attesting to his presence.
A few weeks later, after he had requested that they space out the times he was required to provide a signature, Home Office sent Saeed a letter informing him that during the appointment they have given him officers will be going to his home and tagging his feet. (This is a police foot tag with radar and security alarm, which goes off if the person wearing it walks beyond the geographic limits legally assigned to him. If home office wants to arrest that person they locate him through the radar and publically embarrass him by turning his alarm on.)
Saeed was suffering from extreme skin allergies, which his doctor assigns to a reaction to metal, or any other potential allergenic triggered by the emotional and psychological pressures he is dealing with. Saeed’s doctor sent a letter to Saeed’s lawyer and to Home Office, preventing them from attaching the tag on Saeed’s foot.
After a long time of being homeless and sleeping on the street Saeed received some financial support and was given a place to stay. His housemates made his stay there unbearable. Moreover, ever since Saeed’s release from detention centre right up till this very day, every letter his lawyer has sent to Home Office has gone unanswered. Home Office does not respond at all and their dismissal of Saeed is very hard on him.
All these pressures and the toll of not seeing his family for 9 years caused him to try and end his life.
I visit him every day but he is not emotionally stable and says he does not want to live anymore. He doesn’t regret his attempted suicide and is likely to try again at any moment if he finds an opportunity.
This is why they have taken him to the Mental Health Hospital so they can control him and protect him so he will not have personal freedom and access to things he could use for suicide.
A friend of Saeed
IRanian Queer Railroad – IRQR
PH4-150 Graydon Hall Drive
M3A 3B3 Canada