Sunday, 23 March 2008

Downing street protest

There is still no word on when Mehdi will be transferred to the UK or from the Rotterdam detention centre. He has again passed on his thanks to everyone who has supported him.

A protest was held opposite Downing Street yesterday by around 150 people.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 22.03.08. Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner and member of OutRage! speaks in support of the gay Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi opposite 10 Downing Street, London, England on 22nd March 2008. Mehdi Kazemi 19, who lost his asylum claim in Britain even though his former boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian state police and executed for sodomy. The Home Secretary has halted the planned deportation and agreed to reconsider the case. (Photo by Marc Vallée/ (c) Marc Vallée, 2008.

More photos from Mark

Speaking for the gay activist group OutRage! Peter Tatchell highlighted the five failings of the Home Office with regard to LGBT refugees:
  • No training on sexual orientation issues for asylum staff and adjudicators
  • No explicit official policy supporting the right of refugees to claim asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation
  • No action to stamp out the abuse of LGBT refugees in UK asylum detention camps
  • No accurate, up-to-date information on the victimisation of LGBT people in violently homophobic countries
  • No access to adequate legal representation for LGBT asylum applicants

The protest also highlighted the cases of Pegah Emambakhsh - an Iranian lesbian woman - and Jojo Yakob - a Syrian gay man - also under threat of deportation.

Many protesters came from outside London, including groups of students from Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester.

Slideshow produced by Jason Alvey:


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