Thursday, 13 March 2008

News update

Last night's BBC News 24 Report (also on News At Ten):

Following the ABC Nightly News Report, the story has now hit the right-wing blogosphere in the United States. Atlas Shrugs covers it this morning, using it as an anti-European left example:

This is where the head spins ... The left in America and Europe can't stop sucking Ahmadi-nijad, his rod and his staff.

And MTV, which will flow on to its affiliates around the world. Apart from the international gay media, it is also been reported in the past couple of days across America, in Fiji, India, France, South Africa, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany Australia, New Zealand — and Iran.

An American gay newspaper, Out In Jersey, has sent the following to Jacqui Smith:
It gives me nothing but pain to inform you that, in the event Mehdi is sent back to Iran, this publication will have no alternative but to call, loudly and frequently, for a boycott of travel to the United Kingdom. I cannot see how, in conscience, we can do otherwise.

The Independent reports that:

63 peers have signed a letter to the Home Secretary urging the Government to halt the deportation.

Among those pressing the Government to help Mr Kazemi are Lord Woolf, the former lord chief justice; Betty Boothroyd, the former speaker of the House of Commons; and Shirley Williams, Julia Neuberger, Paddy Ashdown, David Steel, Lord Lester QC and the Bishop of Liverpool, as well as a number of senior Labour peers.

It is understood that some government ministers privately support the peers' intervention, but for constitutional reasons are unable to put their names to the document.

Lord Roberts of LlandudnoThe author of the letter, the LibDem peer and Methodist Minister, Lord Roberts of Llandudno, is seeking an urgent meeting with a Home Office minister.

Baroness Scott comments that:

Roger Roberts, was collecting signatures in the Lords yesterday petitioning for Mehdi to stay in the UK. Whilst I was only too pleased to add my name, I was disappointed, to say the least, not a single Conservative could be persuaded to do so.

Madhi's Uncle, Saeed, is also quoted by the Indie:

After losing his case he is so afraid now of what might happen to him. He is living a nightmare which no young man should ever have to experience. I have been told that there is an arrest warrant in his name issued by the Iranian government police. If he goes back, his life will be in danger. I urge Ms Smith to please reconsider his case.

As is Simon Hughes MP:

As Mehdi's British MP, and someone who has been supporting him and his family since December 2006, I am prepared for Mehdi's return to the UK. As soon as Mehdi is back in the UK, I will meet him and his family and make official representations through the proper channels, with the help of the best legal support. The Home Office has assured me that they will then reconsider Mehdi's case.
Independent Opinion piece by Phillip Henshaw: There is no logic to our treatment of Mehdi Kazemi
But we're not talking about thousands of potential asylum seekers, or a situation that hasn't taken shape yet. We are talking, unfortunately, about one tragic and terrifying case, and about one 19-year-old who we are seriously proposing to send back to Iran, where he may very well be executed.

Is it entirely impossible that Mr Kazemi's case has been dealt with by officials who regard a 19-year-old homosexual, and the state of homosexuality itself, with frank distaste? It seems more than likely.

Mr Kazemi is not, by now, a case or a precedent. He is a human being in a situation that we can thank God few of us will ever face.

Dutch Radio reports that:

The European Parliament is demanding that an Iranian homosexual, currently detained in an immigration centre in the Netherlands, receive protection.

European MPs are worried that Mr Kazemi will receive the death penalty if he is sent back to Iran. They say that he must not become the victim of European bureaucracy.

The Daily Mail covers Madhi today. It quotes the Dutch Democrat MP Boris van der Ham Kamervragen, who has taken up Kazemi's case. He has tabled questions in Parliament asking the junior minister for immigration, Nebahat Albayrak, to lobby British authorities on Kazemi's behalf.

There should be some political leadership. I hope in Britain they will do it and otherwise we should take the boy.

The Mail says that Madhi is not expected to be deported before Albayrak has answered Van der Ham's questions.

This is a sample comment on the story by a Daily Mail reader:

Would either country care to have the label 'murderer' hanging over their head?

George Galloway has defended the Iranian Government and made despicable remarks concerning Madhi. Speaking on the Channel 5 TV talk show The Wright Stuff this morning

GG: The Independent has a story about Peers calling upon the Home Secretary to halt the deportation of a gay Iranian. In part this is being used as part of the on-going propaganda against Iran. All the papers seem to imply that you get executed in Iran for being gay. That's not true.
MW: His boyfriend was hung though, wasn't he?
GG: Yes, but nor being gay. For uh, committing sex crimes, uh, against young men.
MW: Right...
GG: I mean, I'm against execution for any reason in any place, but it is important to avoid that propaganda.
MW: So you're saying that his guy they want to deport should be deported because there is no risk of his sexuality.. or he shouldn't be deported because there is at risk?
GG: He should not be deported not least because after all this Iranian propaganda he will be accused of being the source, or one of the sources. It would be ridiculous to deport him, and I don't think he will be deported now.

Video. Galloway is contactable here.


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