Archive for the ‘Gays Without Borders’ Category
As the story developed today, it turned that the club became the hostage of the electoral fight in one of Moscow’s constituencies for the upcoming City Duma elections.
“It’s not a question of a gay club, it’s not a question of the society of blind people, it’s not a question of sexual minorities, it is a question of an electoral campaign which started and in which I am running in the same constituency than the Prefect,” declared tonight Oleg Smolin, deputy and member of the Communist party.
The deputy announced that he will sue the Prefect in court over an attempt to spoil his reputation in the upcoming electoral campaign.
Mr Smolin claims 5 million roubles (approx 109’700 EUR) from the Prefect and 1 rouble from each TV channel which reported the story.
Mr Mitvol and Mr Smolin are running in the same constituency in two opposed lists.
Last Friday, the Prefect of the Northern administrative district of Moscow accused Mr Smolin of protecting the interests of the club “Body&Soul (ex-Chance)”.
“The Duma deputy of the Communist Party is protecting the interests of this club. Is it moral?” Mr Mitvol asked the journalists last Friday.
The same day the Prefect raided the club at night joined by the anti-drug police and the prosecution department, arresting two clients.
At the end of July Mr Mitvol initiated a campaign for morality in the city targeting gay clubs, saunas and love hotels saying that “such places which lead to the moral degradation of citizens and become the source of troubles should be closed”.
Citing complaints from residents to his office, Mr Mitvol received an unsurprising backing of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians (Pentecostals) which gathered 70 persons during a protest held in front of the club “Body&Soul (ex-Chance)” on Saturday. The action was authorized by the city authorities.
Earlier today, the LGBT Network, asked the Criminal Prosecution to open an investigation against the Prefect for incitation to hatred and degradation of human dignity.
“There is nothing in the words of the Prefect which can lead to his prosecution on the basis of Article 282 of Russian Criminal Code”, declared head of Russian LGBT Human Rights Project GayRussia.Ru Nikolai Alekseev.
“In comparison to what we heard in 2005 from the Mufti Tadjuddin and in 2008 from the Governor of Tambov region Oleg Betin, Mr Mitvol did not call to beat or kill gays and lesbians”, Alekseev added.
Following the request, sent to the prosecution, the Prefect declared tonight that “gays have started a campaign to support communists and became their lawyers”.
Mr Mitvol’s campaign for increased morality targeted only one gay club.
Local observers mention that surprisingly the Prefect targeted so far only a gay club which happens to rent its hall from an organization of which the Vice President is Mr Smolin, his direct competitor in the upcoming elections.
Mr Smolin said tonight that his complain to court will argue that the words of the Prefect saying he protects a gay club is an attempt to spoil his reputation over the electoral campaign.
This case will not be a premiere in Russian court history.
In September Moscow Court will hear the complaint of a former participant in the Russian version of Big Brother’s TV show against the newspaper “Express Gazeta” and the gay internet portal Gay.ru
Vasiliy Pechen is suing over allegation in which he was described as gay and working as a male prostitute. He told the journalists that he was refused several jobs after the allegations were published.
The claimant is seeking financial damages of 3 million roubles (approx 65’800 EUR) from “Express Gazeta” and 1 million roubles (approx 22’000 EUR) from Gay.ru. In addition, Mr Pechen demands a refutation to be published by the defendants.
“Sexual orientation on its own should not be considered as spoiling a reputation. This goes exactly against what we are fighting for,” said Nikolai Alekseev, before adding that “being gay is not unlawful in Russia”.
“However, information that someone is getting money for sex services is a different story especially since prostitution carries an administrative fine according to the law,” he added.
© Credit: Bill Wilson Photos
By Michael Petrelis
Never doubt that a handful of pissed off queens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that has ever moved the queer movement meaningfully forward.
At least one-hundred people came out in today’s heatwave over the course of a one-hour rally and participated in San Francisco’s first action for IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia, Sunday afternoon at Harvey Milk Plaza. We rallied against the killings and torture of LGBT Iraqis, and expressed unwavering solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the U.S.-occupied country.
Thanks to the efforts of my organizing colleagues, Gary Virginia of Gays Without Borders and Jeff Cotter of Rainbow World Fund, and several members of the ever-fabulous Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, over the past week and today’s bucket brigade, slightly more than $5,000 was raised. The funds will go to direct-relief aid for the LGBT Iraqi community. Tax-deductible donations can be made at http://rainbowfund.org.
My favorite moment came at the end of the rally. Gary Virginia criticized our very own Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who, he pointed out, is also Speaker of the House, and whose district includes the possibly gayest neighborhood in all of America, was recently in Baghdad and she was silent during her visit about the LGTB murders.
“She’s said nothing about the atrocities and that has to change,” explained Virginia, to boisterous applause and cheers.
How the hell is it possible our Congressional rep is 100% mute about the murders of homosexuals in Baghdad, is the great unanswered question of the day.
Artist and activist Clinton Fein is editing and preparing a video of today’s demonstration, which will be made public tomorrow. Look for it here and on his site Annoy.com.
Let’s look at photos from today and see a few of the fine people who showed up. On behalf of the organizers, we thank you. Most photos, except where noted otherwise, were snapped by me.
- San Francisco Gays Organize Rally for LGBT Iraqis – Leaders Want End to Torture and Murder
- Chicago: Protest Focuses on Obama’s Failure to Denounce Rampant Anti-Gay Violence in Iraq
- Improving Security Prompts UN to Revise Guidelines for GAY Iraqi Asylum Claims
- They Kill People Like Us Says Gay Iraqi
- Iraqi Gays Face Gruesome Torture/Murder Technique by Doug Ireland
- Iraq: Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of LGBT People – Iraqi Militia Have Deployed a Painful Form of Torture Against Homosexuals by Closing Their Anuses With Glue
- Iraq: IGLHRC Asks the Iraqi Government to Protect LGBT People
- NYC: Brendan Fay – Protest At Iraq Mission Over Murders Of Gay Men In Iraq
- San Francisco Gays Protest 6 Gay Iraqi Murders – April 6, 5 PM, Harvey Milk Plaza
- Iraq: Six Gay Men Murdered in Iraqi Slum
- URGENT: Stop Executions of Gay Iraqis – Members of Iraqi LGBT Group on Death Row – Action Needed to Halt Judicial Executions
- Iraq’s Queer Underground Railroad: A Secret Network of Safe Houses and Escape Routes Is Saving Gay Iraqis From Execution by Islamist Death Squads
- Iraq’s Underground Queer Railroad – Safe Houses and Escape Routes Save LGBT Lives by Peter Tatchell
- UK: Queer Fear 2 – The Sexual Cleansing of Iraq – Film Screening November 3rd 2008
- Sexual Cleansing in Iraq: Bashar, Coordinator of Iraqi LGBT in Baghdad Assassinated – Islamist Death Squads Are Hunting Down Gay Iraqis and Summarily Executing Them
- Iraq: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Do Kill – Newsweek’s Inquiry About Gays Persecuted
- Iraq: Out of the Gathering Darkness – Two Iraqi Lesbians, Amal and Zahra, Shot Dead and Decapitated
- U.S. Invasion Has Made Life Worse for Iraqi LGBT Community
- New York: Benefit Party for Iraqi LGBT at the North Star Fund
- Iraqi LGBT Have Recently Obtained New Video Evidence
- New Disappearances of Gay People in Iraq
- Treatment of LGBT People In Iraq by Police
- From Iran to New Iraq, Ayatollahs Are Murderers of Homosexuals: Massive Crimes Against Humanity Are Committed by the Pro-Iranian Iraqi Government Installed by the Amerikan Occupation and Its Sectarian Militias
- Three Iraq Safe Houses Forced to Close
- IRAQI LGBT: SAFE HOUSE CAMPAIGN
New logo designed by Marko, sent by Nicolas Alexeyev
Tin Joins Activists at UN to Press for Gay Rights in Russia, Belarus.
Letter is sent to the UN General Secretary after public protest.
Louis-Georges Tin, the president of the International Day Against Homophobia committee, joined gay activists from Russia and Belarus on Monday at the United Nations to press for gay human rights in the two countries.
“I salute the determination of the LGBT activists from Russia and Belarus,” Mr. Tin told UK Gay News last evening.
“But,” he pointed out, “I regret that the UN Human Rights Commission has not given any firm commitment to solve the matter of Freedom of Assembly in their respective countries.”
On Sunday, the activists and Mr. Tin, who two years ago originated the concept of a United Nations declaration which came to fruition last December in New York, took part in a symbolic protest in front of the United Nations in Geneva.
“We came here to show that such event cannot be organized in our country,” said Nikolai Baev.
With banners reading “Russia and Belarus banned all gay manifestation. UN must act” and “Everyone has the right to freedom of assembly”, the activists handed-in a letter to the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
“The universal declaration for Human Rights says that anyone has the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of association. Since 2006 no action has been taken by the UN to guaranty Freedom of Assembly for LGBT in Russia and Belarus,” the letter reads.
Yesterday, the Russian-Belarusian delegation of gay activists, again accompanied by Mr. Tin, with the UN Human Rights High Commissioner office.
“One of the conclusions we made after our meeting with this institution is that there is a gap between what we, as activists, face in our countries and what they usually know,” said Mr. Baev.
“We will keep putting pressure on all these human rights institutions,” Nikolai Alekseev added.
The meeting concluded five days of visits to the European institutions and the UN.
Sent by Sunil Pant.
Kathmandu, Dec 11: Nepal’s ruling Maoist party, which till a year ago regarded homosexuality as a perversion threatening to corrupt society, will strike a blow for gay rights at the UN later this month, marking a sea-change in the organisation that took up arms to seize power.
Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who is defying the hardliners in his own party to push for a liberal multi-party democracy, has asked the Foreign Ministry and Nepal’s Ambassador to the UN to support a statement that will be tabled at the UN General Assembly this month recognising human rights violations on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Prachanda, a former revolutionary whose once banned party waged a 10-year war on the state to end the monarchy, renewed his commitment to gay rights on Wednesday to a delegation led by Nepal’s only publicly gay lawmaker Sunil Babu Pant.
The Prime Minister’s office also gave the delegation a copy of the order issued by it Monday, asking the appropriate Ministries to support the gay rights statement in the UN initiated by France and supported by a core group of eight more nations, including Japan, the Netherlands and Norway.
“Since then, 55 other countries have pledged to sign the document,” Pant said. “Nepal becomes the 56th.”
The statement, coming in a year that marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, urges for an end to human rights abuse perpetrated on people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The abuses include violence, criminal sanctions, torture and discrimination in accessing economic, social and cultural rights.
The Maoist decision to uphold gay rights comes just a year after its cadres were intimidating homosexuals in Kathmandu valley and asking house owners not to accept gay tenants.
Pant, who was nominated to Nepal’s newly elected constituent assembly by the Communist Party of Nepal-United, a partner in the ruling coalition and the first party to have fielded gays and transgenders during the April elections, says the Supreme Court was the first to secure gay rights.
Last year, the apex court recognised gays as “natural people” and ordered the government to end all discrimination against them. Last month, it also sanctioned gay marriages.
Recognising the growing network and clout of Nepal’s sexual minorities, this year three major political parties, including the Maoists, wooed the community by including gay welfare in their election manifestos.
“I wrote to Prachanda in November, urging him to show leadership at the UN on the issues of sexual and gender diversity,” said Pant, who in 2001 founded the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s first gay rights organisation that today is supported by British rock icon Sir Elton John.
“By supporting the France statement, Nepal shows government support for human rights that are set out in its own interim constitution,” he added.
Pant hailed the Maoist government’s efforts on behalf of the sexual minorities.
The budget tabled by Maoist Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has allocated Nepali Rs 2.5 million (USD 38,800) for a community building that can accommodate 50 homeless transgenders.
In a bigger project under the Poverty Alleviation Programme, about Rs 70 million has been earmarked to uplift the status of marginalised people like women, Dalits (former untouchables) and sexual minorities.
Gay refugees face prejudice across the world
15th April 2008 18:20
Biplob Hossain, a gay refugee from Bangladesh who is seeking asylum in Australia, and Joaquin Ramirez, facing deportation to El Salvador, have highlighted the plight of gay men who flee their countries to escape persecution.
Mr Hossain, 25, moved to Australia on a student visa when he was 19.
He applied for asylum on the basis that he would suffer persecution in Bangladesh. He was placed in a detention centre for 29 months.
After three rejections by the Refugee Review Tribunal and a failed High Court bid, Mr Hossain is hoping for a personal intervention from the Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans.
He was released from Villawood Detention Centre in October 2006, but is not allowed to work or collect social security benefits.
Sandi Logan, a spokesperson for the Immigration Department, told Australian SX News:
“A person’s sexual orientation does not of itself enable that person to be granted asylum.”
“We provide protection for asylum seekers under the UN definition of a refugee, under the Convention 67 protocol, which doesn’t include their sexual orientation or their fears of persecution associated with that orientation.”
Bangladeshi law states that gay sex acts are illegal and will be punished with deportation, fines and life imprisonment.
The national law itself is rarely directly enforced however there have been numerous reports of incidents of vigilantism.
People suspected of homosexuality have also been sentenced to death by a fatwa.
Meanwhile, in Canada, a gay man is facing deportation to his native El Salvador where he claims that three police officers who raped him are now out to kill him.
Joaquin Ramirez, a 39-year-old HIV-positive man said the accused perpetrators have visited his family and threatened to kill him because he infected them with the HIV virus.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board doubted Mr Ramirez’s claims, asking why he did not seek legal support in his own country when the incident occurred.
Mr Ramirez told Canadian newspaper The Star:
“How could I go to the same people and ask them to protect me when it’s those people who did this to me?”
Mr Ramirez worked as a volunteer outreach worker with the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Salvadoran Network of People Living with HIV.
He said he was picked on by three drunken officers at a restaurant in 2006 and driven to a plantation field where he was allegedly beaten and raped.
Five months later he claims a stranger called his sister and threatened to kill him for infecting them with the virus.
The refugee didn’t believe Ramirez left El Salvador because of the alleged assault as he had already planned to leave in November 2005.
The two stories come just weeks after the much published case of Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi.
Mr Kazemi came to London in 2005 to study English but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.
The UK rejected his first asylum plea, but Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now granted him a temporary reprieve from deportation while she reconsiders his case.
In 76 countries people face jail for having gay sex.
Homosexual acts officially carry the death penalty in several nations including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, and Yemen.
In many Muslim countries, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria and the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines, or corporal punishment.
In Egypt, openly gay men have been prosecuted under general public morality laws.
Some liberal Muslims, such as the members of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, accept and consider homosexuality as natural pointing out that the Qu’ran speaks out against homosexual lust, and is silent on homosexual love.
However, this position remains highly controversial even amongst liberal movements within Islam, and is considered beyond the pale by mainstream Islam.
The UK is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which means that it has a responsibility under international law not to return refugees to a place where they would face persecution.
Par Antonin Sabot | Etudiant en journalisme | 15/04/2008 | 16H04
Le fichier informatique Ardoise permettra de préciser si une victime, un témoin ou un suspect est homosexuel, SDF, syndicaliste…
Pas encore en service, le prochain système d’exploitation des données de la Police, baptisé Ardoise fait déjà débat. Recueillant les informations lors des enquêtes de police et de gendarmerie, il devrait remplacer les actuels logiciels Stic et Judix. Lundi 14 avril, le Collectif contre l’homophobie (CCH), basé à Montpellier, a saisi la la Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations (Halde) et la Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (Cnil) pour s’opposer à sa mise en oeuvre. L’association dénonce un recueil abusif de données à caractère personnel par ce logiciel.
Lorsque les fonctionnaires rempliront le ficher Ardoise, une fenêtre s’ouvrira leur demandant de spécifier “l’état de la personne”. Etat qui pourra contenir des données personnelles comme savoir si elle est homosexuelle, handicapée ou représentante syndicale; quel que soit son rapport avec l’affaire en cours, simple témoin, victime ou suspecte.
Averti par des fonctionnaires de police en formation sur Ardoise, le Collectif contre l’homophobie s’inquiète de la possibilité de création de fichiers catégoriels. Pour l’association, la police doit qualifier des faits et non pas “profiler des personnes”. “Rien n’exclut qu’ici où là quelqu’un fasse des extractions des données”, explique Hussein Bourgi président du CCH:
De son côté, le ministère de l’Intérieur joue l’apaisement. Selon lui, les fichiers Ardoise ne contiendront pas d’informations qui ne figuraient pas déjà dans le logiciel Stic employé jusqu’à aujourd’hui. En effet, ces fichiers contiennent bien une entrée “état de la personne”, mais qui n’était remplie que pour la victime et le suspect. Ardoise ne serait qu’une modernisation des précédents logiciels et permettrait l’unification des données détenues par la gendarmerie et la police.
Le porte-parole du ministère, Gérard Gachet, fait valoir que “lors d’une affaire avec des circonstances aggravantes comme une agression de personne homosexuelle, il faut bien que ces renseignements apparaissent quelque part”. Mais ce type d’information n’apparaît pas lorsque la personne est hétérosexuelle fait valoir le CCH. Ces informations doivent aussi aider les enquêteurs à résoudre certaines affaires et elles ne seront d’ailleurs renseignées que si elles ont un lien avec l’affaire assure le ministère: “Un avertissement clair sera affiché à ce propos.” Argument qui ne convainc pas Hussein Bourgi:
Quant à la date d’entrée en vigueur de ce système d’exploitation, le porte-parole du ministère avoue qu’il “ne sait pas” lui-même quand elle aura lieu. Elle devait intervenir au second semestre 2008, mais les tests (à Ecully, en région Lyonnaise) et les formations ne sont pas encore finies. De plus le logiciel devra être validé par la Cnil avant d’être installé.
Gays Demand China Free AIDS Advocate at Olympic Torch Protest:
A press conference was supposed to be held today at 11 AM at United Nations Plaza by Tibetans living in the US, to demand China end its occupation of their country. I went to it expecting 2 or 3 dozen Tibetans and their supporters would be standing behind a microphone tree, explaining what they hope to accomplish as the Olympic torch passes through town.
What I found when I got there was a full-fledged rally, held in front of a large elevated stage near the north end of the plaza, and perhaps five-hundred protesters waving flags, chanting slogans and handing out flyers.
I hooked up with five other gay men who were there to call for the release of Chinese AIDS advocate Hu Jia, sentenced to three years in jail last week for pro-democracy advocacy, and to add our voices to the “Free Tibet” chorus.
Here are two photos of us posing for the cameras:
I’m proud a handful of us gays were present today, and will be attending other pro-Tibet events today and tomorrow, as the Olympic torch wends its way through San Francisco. And big thanks to the other gays who showed up today in support of our Tibetan friends and incarcerated AIDS advocate Hu Jia.
By Michael Petelis :
Olympic torch ambushed in London
Bus halted, gay activist Tatchell arrested
“Gordon Brown colludes with China’s tyrannical leaders”
London – 6 April 2008
The bus bearing the Olympic torch was today ambushed outside Selfridges department store in Oxford Street, London, by gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!
Mr Tatchell ran in front of the bus carrying the Olympic flame. He held up a placard which read: “Free Tibet, Free Hu Jia.” He shouted the same words as he ran along in front of the bus.
The police wrestled Mr Tatchell to the ground, which delayed the bus briefly while he was removed to pavement. After questioning, he was later released without charge.
“Hu Jia was jailed for three and half years last week for campaigning for free speech, Tibetan autonomy, environmental protection, and for the human rights of the rural poor and people with HIV,” said Mr Tatchell.
“He exposed the Chinese government’s cover up of the use of HIV contaminated blood, the lack of support and care for people with HIV, and he challenged social prejudice and discrimination against people with the virus.
“Hi Jia is a truly heroic figure, who has shown immense foresight, determination and bravery. He has kept campaigning, even though he knew it would put him at risk of arrest, torture and imprisonment.
“In jail, Hu Jia is likely to be mistreated, denied medical treatment for his hepatitis B infection and starved of proper food.
For more information about Hu Jia, see here:
“Gordon Brown has shamed himself and Britain by greeting the Olympic torch at Downing Street, at a time when China is shooting dead Tibetan protesters and jailing and torturing hundreds of political prisoners,” added Mr Tatchell.
“It is hypocritical for the Prime Minister to boycott the Zimbabwean regime, but not the dictatorial regime in China. These double standards bring our government into disrepute.
“The UK should not be colluding with a police state like China. Attempts to gently persuade the Beijing leaders to stop their human rights abuses have failed. They are manipulating the Olympics. We must
not allow them to exploit the Beijing games to divert attention from China’s abysmal human rights record.
“All countries that love freedom, democracy and liberty should refuse to host the Olympic torch and boycott the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Athletes should wear Tibetan flags during their events and on the podium when they collect their medals.
“China should be subjected to sporting protests in the same way that apartheid South Africa was subject to sporting protests.
“China is one the world’s most vicious anti-worker regimes. It has poor labour laws. Employees have little protection against abuse. Independent trade unions are banned and their leaders jailed.
“To make way for new cities, millions of rural people have been forced off their land with little or no compensation. China is free market state capitalism at its worst. The gap between the rich and poor is
one of the widest of any country on earth.
“The idea that China is any longer a communist state is laughable. The Communist Party has become a new ruling class and a route to personal advancement, corruption and wealth aggrandisement.
“The Beijing leaders are new emperors who ride roughshod over their own people. They have almost total power and they abuse it to oppress and exploit the Chinese nation, in ways that are often similar to the old feudal and colonial powers of the nineteenth century,” said Mr Tatchell.
Peter Tatchell 020 7403 1790
Conservative MEP John Bowis made the following powerful speech in the European Parliament in favour of the successful resolution supporting Mehdi and Pegah Emambakhsh.
Bruxelles: The European Parliament has approved with 60 votes (46 in favour, 2 against and 12 abstentions) an urgent resolution on the case of Seyed Mehdi Kazemi – the 19-year-old Iranian gay – member of EveryOne Group – who is about to be extradited from Holland to the United Kingdom. He risked immediate deportation from London to Teheran, where the death sentence awaits him because of his homosexuality.
Full text of the European Parliament’s Resolution on Mehdi Kazemi’s case:
The European Parliament,
– having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and in particular to Article 3 thereof, which prohibits the removal, expulsion or extradition of persons to countries where there is a serious risk that they would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,
– having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and in particular to Articles 18 and 19 thereof on the right to asylum and on protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition respectively,
– having regard to the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the Status of Refugees,
– having regard to Council Directive 2004/83/EC on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted (Qualifications Directive) and to Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 on the criteria and mechanisms to determine the Member State responsible for assessing asylum applications (Dublin Regulation), as well as to other EU asylum instruments,
– having regard to the letter of 10 September 2007 from its President to the UK Prime Minister on the case of Pegah Emambakhsh, an Iranian lesbian who risked being sent back to Iran after her request for asylum was turned down,
– having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas Mehdi Kazemi, a 19-year-old gay Iranian citizen, requested asylum in the United Kingdom and had his application turned down; whereas, fearing deportation, he fled to the Netherlands, where he applied for asylum; whereas Dutch authorities, after examining his request, have decided to send him back to the UK,
B. whereas UK authorities are now left with the final decision on his asylum application and possible deportation to Iran,
C. whereas Iranian authorities routinely detain, torture and execute persons, notably homosexuals; whereas Mehdi’s partner has already been executed, while his father has threatened him with death,
D. whereas in the similar case of Pegah Emambakhsh the UK authorities decided, after international pressure, not to deport her back to Iran, but whereas it is still not clear what her fate will be,
E. whereas the UK Prime Minister’s spokesperson, while not commenting on the case of Mehdi Kazemi, gave general assurances as to the conformity of UK asylum procedures with international commitments and to the possibility of appealing against asylum decisions to an independent judge, as well as to the fact that the authorities would not remove anyone who would be at risk on his or her return,
F. whereas more attention should be devoted to the proper application of EU asylum law in Member States as regards sexual orientation,
1. Expresses its serious concern regarding the fate of Mehdi Kazemi;
2. Asks for the proper and full application of the Qualifications Directive, which recognises persecution for sexual orientation as a ground for granting asylum and requires Member States to consider the individual case and the situation in the country of origin, including laws and regulations and the manner in which they are applied;
3. Believes that the EU and its Member States cannot apply European and national laws and procedures in a way which results in the expulsion of persons to a third country where they would risk persecution, torture and death, as this would amount to a violation of European and international human rights obligations;
4. Appeals to the Member states involved to find a common solution to ensure that Mehdi Kazemi is granted asylum or protection on EU soil and not sent back to Iran, where he would be executed, thus ensuring that Article 3 of the ECHR is fully respected by all European authorities and notably, in this case, by the UK; asks the Commission and the Council to fully cooperate with the Member States on this case;
5. Asks EU institutions and Member States to take action to prevent similar situations, in the future, through cooperation and EU guidelines to find solutions in similar cases; asks the Commission to monitor and evaluate the application of EU asylum law in Member States, and in particular as regards sexual orientation, and to report to the European Parliament; underlines the fact that the Commission has announced, for 2008, amendments to the Dublin Regulation and the Qualifications Directive which will address the issues raised in this resolution;
6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Member States, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and Mehdi Kazemi.