“United Kingdom is a danger for all refugees”

March 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm | Posted in Asylum, Gay Rights, New Labour | 7 Comments
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The shocking, shameful and entirely accurate assessment of Britain’s treatment of refugees. From the Independent:

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, who sought sanctuary in Britain in 2005 when he discovered that his partner had been hanged in Tehran for engaging in homosexual acts, is expected to be returned to Iran in the next few weeks. Mr Kazemi fled to Holland from Britain last year after the Home Office rejected his claim for asylum. But yesterday, a Dutch court ruled that he should be sent back to Britain after refusing to consider his claim for asylum.


Mr Kazemi arrived in London as a student in 2004, after which his boyfriend was arrested by Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged. In a telephone conversation with his father in Tehran, Mr Kazemi was told that, before the execution in April 2006, his boyfriend had been questioned about sexual relations he had with other men and under interrogation had named Mr Kazemi as his partner.

Fearing for his life if he returned to Iran, Mr Kazemi claimed asylum in Britain. But in 2007 his case was refused. Terror-stricken at the prospect of being sent home, the young Iranian made a desperate attempt to evade deportation and fled to Holland.

Apparently the Dutch are not quite as culpable of sending someone to their death as we are; the BBC reports that “under the EU’s 2003 Dublin Regulation, the state the applicant first enters is responsible for processing their application.” So our government should’ve made the right decision in the first place.

Lib Dem Simon Hughes is apparently taking Kazemi’s case further, and there is still time for Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to intervene and save him from certain death. For those who want to pressure their MPs into shaming her to do the right thing, Paul Canning has the details:

Please help by doing any of the following today:

  • PLEASE contact your MP today. The media coverage is no guarantee that Jacqui Smith will not send him back.

You can also use the following contact points:

There’s also an online petition here, and (via) a planned demo:

On Saturday March 22nd at 2pm Middle East Workers’ Solidarity will be staging a protest opposite Downing Street in defence of Mehdi Kazemi, a gay Iranian asylum seeker who the British government plans to send back to Iran on the grounds that if gay Iranians are “discreet about their sexuality”, they will not get in trouble.

In fact, Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend in Iran has already been executed for being gay, and the regime knows about Mehdi Kazemi and will likely kill him if he returns. We are demonstrating to demand that he should not be sent to his death in Iran, and that he should be allowed to stay in Britain if he so chooses.”

Other bloggers who’ve posted on the subject (and who’ll doubtless offer more comment & background on the case, not to mention a more reliable update service) are as follows:

Since there are bound to be many more that I’ve missed (this post has been constructed in a bit of a lunch hour rush), there’s always a Google Blogsearch.

Since much of yesterday seemed to revolve around Lord Goldsmith’s plans for making us all prouder, more patriotic Brits, I think Alex Parsons deserves the last word:

What would make me proud to be British? Making it through a whole week without being disgusted by my government would be a step in the right direction.

Update: From the comments:

1 paul canning on March 12, 2008 said: Edit Link

Hia website has now been set up to support Madhi’s case



Paul Canning


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  1. Hi

    a website has now been set up to support Madhi’s case



    Paul Canning

  2. […] hope. From the BBC: The home secretary is to review the case of Iranian homosexual teenager Mehdi Kazemi, who has said he will be executed if forced to return to Iran. The UK rejected his first asylum […]

  3. Good stuff and some useful links – thanks.

    I wrote a little article on my blog earlier this week which covers a few different aspects and I’ll be coming to the demo since I’m local to London


  4. Peter Tatchell: “In Iran Gay Men Are Hanged in Public Using the Barbaric Slow Strangulation Method” :

  5. […] discovered more horror stories whilst researching the case of gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi. These are from international human rights organisation the EveryOne Group: In September […]

  6. […] case of Mehdi Kazemi and the general ill-treatment of asylum seekers in Britain seems to be provoking something […]

  7. […] (i.e. the 6 people who knew I was keeping this blog), might remember an earlier post about Mehdi Kazemi, the 19-year-old Iranian teenager who sought asylum in Britain and feared he would be killed if […]

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