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Tuesday, 11 March 2008

About Seyed Madhi Kazemi


Seyed Madhi Kazemi was born in Tehran and is not yet 20. On September 15th, 2005 he set off for the United Kingdom after applying for a student visa. At first he lived with his uncle in London and attended an English course. In November 2005 he moved to Brighton where he enrolled at the Embassy CES College of Hove. He renewed his student visa to November 2006, with the intention of returning to his family in Iran once the course was over.

Madhi loved a boy back in Iran called Parham, with whom he had shared a secret relationship since the age of 15. Madhi and Parham regularly wrote to each other via e-mail until December 2005, when Parham suddenly stopped writing. In late March 2006, Madhi’s uncle informed him that his father had found out about his homosexuality and his relationship with Parham: the boy had been arrested by the Iranian authorities after being caught with a peer and accused of “lavat” (sodomy).

During the interrogation he was forced to give the names of all the boys he had had relations with, including Madhi himself. Madhi’s father had then received a visit from the Tehran Police, with an arrest warrant for his son as they wanted to put him on trial. In late April, Madhi’s uncle told him Parham had been put to death.

At this point, Madhi decided to apply to the British Home Office for refugee status, as a similar fate awaited him back in Iran: a death sentence for lavat, and maybe even mohareb, followed by hanging in an Iranian prison (seeing executions are no longer being carried out in public places after the decree signed by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hasemi on January 30th, 2008). His application for asylum, however, was turned down by the Home Secretary.

Madhi, terrified at the idea of being deported back to Iran - where a death sentence awaits him – attempted to flee to Canada, but he was stopped by the German border police. After telling them his story, he was sent to Holland (a country known for granting refugee status to Iranian homosexuals) and handed over to police custody. However, the United Kingdom then sent an official request to Holland, according to the Treaty of Dublin, asking for Madhi’s return, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.

On February 13th, 2008, Madhi informed his uncle of his whereabouts, he was being held in Venlo police station in Holland and had been told he was soon to be transferred to Rotterdam. Madhi’s uncle says he last heard from his nephew on February 15th. Madhi was in the detention centre at Rotterdam Airport, and according to the boy, no one had told him what his fate would be, nor when he was to be returned to Britain.

On Tuesday March 11th Mehdi lost his case in the Netherlands and the Dutch are refusing to reconsider.

The United Kingdom sent a formal request to Holland asking for Mehdi's return to Britain, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.

Madhi is at time of writing in a precarious state of heath and suffering from deep depression.

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