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Thursday, 13 March 2008

House of Commons questions

Labour MP Keith Vaz asked in the Commons today:

May we have a debate or a statement on the Government's policy on removal of individuals to Iran following the case of Mehdi Kazemi? He was refused asylum in this country; his application for asylum has now been refused in Holland; and he says that he will go to his death because of his sexual orientation. Surely discretion should be exercised in such cases. May we have a debate on such issues, which directly affect the lives of individuals?
Harriet Harman responded for the government:
My right hon. Friend is, of course, Chair of the Home Affairs Committee. It is possible for him and other hon. Members to make representations on that or any other individual case, but meanwhile he should be assured of our total opposition to the death penalty in any country in the world. We are in favour of the full human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. No doubt the case that he has raised will be examined carefully in the light of representations and evidence.

Conservative MP Nigel Evans asked Harman:

Following on from what the Leader of the House just said about Mehdi Kazemi, may we have a debate on early-day motion (EDM) 1180?

Last year, an Iranian MP told me that if gays practise in private, nobody knows, but that if they do not, they face torture. I reminded him that they face not torture but execution—perhaps with torture prior to that. Since the ayatollahs took control in Iran, more than 4,000 gay men and women have been executed, some of them publicly. Surely we are not even thinking of sending a gay Iranian back to Iran, where he would face humiliation, torture and execution?

Harman:

No one will be deported to face execution or violation of their human rights. Such matters are addressed on a case-by-case basis taking account of the individual concerned and the circumstances in their country of origin.
Evans and Peter Bottomley are the two Conservative MPs who signed the EDM in support of Madhi

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