Saturday, 15 March 2008

News update

The Independent carries an interview with Madhi today:

I know what Jacqui Smith has said about my case and that of course is a good thing. But I know what this government can do to me. They tried to take me at Christmas time two years ago when everyone was away, even my lawyer.

I can not be confident they won't try this again, perhaps in the Easter holiday. These things have happened to me before. What they haven't done is promise me I won't go back to Iran.

If I am allowed to stay in this country I want to continue with my English studies. I like it in England, I felt safe and much freer. If I go back to Iran it will be most certainly death for me.

Madhi says he was told that he would be safe in Iran if he was discreet about his sexuality. For gay people in Iran it was "like a genocide no one will talk about".

I miss my mother and my little sister a lot, but by father wants to kill me [not a euphemism], he does not accept me.

Speaking through his Uncle, Madhi, told UKGayNews:

I am very thankful for everyone’s concern and help.

UKGayNews also reported his uncle saying that it would be in the best interests of his nephew if he were to be returned to the UK where he speaks the language and has family — But only if the possibility of his deportation was removed.

Having lived in the UK for more than 30 years, Saeed said that he had first met Mehdi in 2001 when he visited Iran. And Mehedi had “come out” to his uncle in early 2006 while studying in the UK.

A few months later, Mehdi was a ‘face in the crowd’ when, in Brighton, he took part in his first – and only – Gay Pride.

CNN Headline News last night carried the following exchange in which the host, Glenn Beck, compared the situation of Iranian gays seeking asylum to those of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. He cited the SS St. Louis, which was turned back by America in 1939.

Beck spoke with Irshad Manji, senior fellow of the European Foundation for Democracy, and author of The Trouble with Islam Today. She said that what really lies at the heart of the experience of gay asylum seekers is "incompetence".

Sarah Ludford MEP, interview about the campaign for Dutch radio (MPEG3, audio). Translated to English Article. Dutch.

[The Home Office might think] for other people 'we could quietly ship them back'. This is not the only gay Iranian at risk, not only of their liberty but their life by being returned.

He has gone through the process, but I think there is something wrong with the Home Office guidelines which are the basis for the assessment of an asylum claim.

Press release by Ludford, quoting her colleagues Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD, Netherlands):

It is absurd that Kazemi has to demonstrate that he risks persecution if you look at the whole record of Iran's repression of gay people by detention, torture and execution. It would be outrageous if Kazemi would be sent back to Iran.
And Marco Cappato (Radical Party, Italy)

The European Union should be a community that protects people, instead of acting as a cold machine with common rules creating a 'lowest common denominator' of asylum seekers protection. It is high time leaders of the EU show compassion instead of hiding behind bureaucratic rules.


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