A 40-year-old gay Iranian has been given refuge in Greece following a campaign by local gay activists.
Two separate applications to remain in Greece had been rejected.
The Greek Homosexual Community (GHC-EOK), which led a campaign on his behalf, said:
We are happy to announce that the gay Iranian refugee, known as 'Alex,' was finally granted asylum following the reconsideration of his case.GHC-EOK say that Alex is a member of a rich Iranian family who was visited in 1999 at his workplace by an ex-schoolmate who knew Alex was gay and who was probably a member of the government party.
EOK wishes to express its gratitude to all within Greece and abroad involved with enthusiasm and who helped the positive outcome.
Special acknowledgments go to the party of SYRIZA who, immediately after becoming aware of the case, helped to achieve the positive outcome and to the Deputy Minister Mr Chenofotis, who responded by acknowledging the just cause in Alex's case."
After that visit, Alex was arrested by the religious police and kept in the Jankal jail at the Iranian town of Rast for 45 days. Alex was tortured at Jankal. He was beaten systematically with lashing straps in his back and kidneys. Beaten several times in the face, he lost three teeth as a result. He had his testicles twisted, was submitted to bastinado (beating the soles of the feet) and had salt poured on his open wounds. He was put twice in mock execution.
After spending forty-five days in jail, his family paid to get him out so that he could attend the funeral of his mother. The police took him to the funeral in women's clothes. While out of jail, Alex managed to escape. A few days later, he arrived to Greece by way of Turkey in a terrible condition.
He went to the General Administration office of the police and applied for political asylum based on the torture he had been submitted to in Iran. The application was rejected.
In 2003, Alex submitted a second application for political asylum stating that he was homosexual and had a relationship with a Greek man, Phoebos (not his real name), who also testified that he was Alex's partner. Alex and Phoebos are still together. However, this application was also rejected.