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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Another gay asylum seeker at risk, refused asylum


A new campaign has been lauched for a gay Azerbaijani asylum seeker from Cardiff.

Babakhan Badalov, (Babi) is an openly gay, internationally renowned radical artist and poet from Azerbaijan. His art and poetry have been explicitly critical of the government and prominent members of present/past regimes. These factors have led Babi to become a target of repression and persecution over many years.

Because of his sexuality and the radical nature of his creative activities, he has endured government-led suppression together with physical and mental abuse from other sectors of society. All this has taken place in a Muslim country, where homosexuality remains an extremely taboo subject. This led one of Babi’s brothers to threaten to kill him because of the shame which he has brought on the family.

As a result of beatings and bullying over the years Babi has only eight teeth remaining and suffers from a number of mental health problems

Since arriving in Cardiff in December 2006, Babi has engaged fully with various parts of the local community and has made many friends in his new home. He is still producing poetry, is writing a book about his art/gay life experiences and is also working on a film addressing the rise of Muslim fundamentalism. This latter work, as well as many other aspects of his art, would of course be impossible in his country of origin.

For the first time in his life, Babi felt happy and safe in Cardiff. He felt able to openly express himself artistically, politically and with regard to his sexuality, without associated feelings of fear, shame and imminent repression.

Babi’s claim for asylum has recently been dismissed by the home office. If he is forced to return to Azerbaijan he faces an uncertain and unhappy future. He will undoubtedly face severe persecution, from the state, community and family.

What you can do to help Babi stay

Use this model letter: babi-badalov-model-campaign-letter to copy/amend or write your own letter to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, asking her to allow Babi to stay safe in Cardiff.

Hand-written letters can be more effective, if you have the time. Remember to quote the Home Office ref. number: B1234623

Send to:
Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department
3rd Floor Peel Buildings
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

-Fax: 020 8760 3132 (00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)
-E-mail: jacqui.smith@homeoffice.gov.uk
-Sign the online petition here: http://www.petitiononline.com/badalov/petition.html
-Collect signatures using this Babi campaign petition
-Distribute information about the campaign using the Babi campaign flyer

Please send any copies of letters/faxes to:
Friends of Babi Badalov
c/o Refugee Voice Wales
389 Newport Road
Cardiff
CF24 1TP

or let us know of any e-mails, faxes or letters you’ve sent by e-mailing us at: keep_babi_safe_in_cardiff@yahoo.co.uk

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