A Home Office minister has defended his boss against accusations that she does not understand the dangers faced by gay people in Iran.
The controversy started on Monday when a letter Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had written to a Lib Dem peer was published in The Independent newspaper.
On the subject of people from Iran seeking asylum in the UK on the grounds of their sexual orientation, she wrote:
"Current case law handed down by the asylum and immigration tribunal concludes that the evidence does not show a real risk of discovery of, or adverse action against gay and lesbian people who are discreet about their sexual orientation."
When asked to clarify her remarks today, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker, who was attending the launch of new Stonewall research into homophobic hate crime, told PinkNews.co.uk:
"She was quoting an asylum and immigration tribunal.
"She accepts that gay and lesbian individuals may need protection."
He said that the Home Secretary has written to The Independent to clarify the matter.
gayasylumuk comment: The tribunals act on Home Office advice. It is ridiculous for him to claim they are somehow impartial and equivalent to a court. The evidence of persecution is overwhelming. Just ask Human Rights Watch (they don't).
Thursday, 26 June 2008