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Gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi Seeking Asylum in the UK


19-year-old Iranian Mehdi Kazemi is being held in detention in The Netherlands while a Dutch court deliberates whether or not it is legal for asylum to be sought in two European countries. Kazemi's request for asylum in the UK was turned down in 2006 after British authorities determined that Iran is a country that does not systematically persecute gays. But that's because Iran does not recognize homosexuality.

ABC reports: "While studying English and science in the U.K., Kazemi learned that his boyfriend had been executed for sodomy back in Iran. His father told him the boyfriend had confessed to Iranian authorities that Kazemi was his lover. The authorities, Kazemi found out, had already been to his parents' house with a warrant for his arrest. 'I was very scared,' Kazemi wrote in a letter accompanying his request for asylum in Britain and published in full on the website of the Canada-based Iranian Queer Organization. 'I wish to inform secretary of state that I did not come to the UK to claim asylum … But in the past few months my situation back home has changed. The Iranian authorities have found out that I am a homosexual and they are looking for me.' He continued, 'I can not stop my attraction to men … If I return to Iran I will be arrested and executed like [my boyfriend]. Since this incident … I have been so scared.'"

The Netherlands may decide to send Kazemi back to the UK, where his fate is again up in the air.

See the clip as well as another report from Sky News, AFTER THE JUMP...

And here's a report from Sky News:

Iranian Teen Fears Deportation Means Death [abc news]

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  1. I don't even know what to say about this post. The state murdering someone because of sexual orientation? I can barely conceive it. I just pray that Medhi stays safe.

    Posted by: Brandon | Mar 10, 2008 10:31:53 AM

  2. Its only early March and already several young men have been murdered by the Iranian ayatollahs. Since coming to power after killing off the democratic opposition to the Shah it’s estimated that they’ve killed over 10,000 ‘enemies of the state” – gays, lesbians, feminists, student protesters, union activists, and leftists.

    The ayatollahs death sentences for gay youths always specify a period of torture before hanging or tossing them from ‘high places’ – cliffs, buildings, even dropping them from cranes, according to Peter Tatchell of the UK’s Outrage network. The ‘most severe’ torture that precedes the lynchings of these young men is in full view of an organized mob of religious bigots.

    Mehdi is being extradited to England under the EU Dublin Treaty which says that someone denied asylum by one member country cannot appeal for it in another. The Brits are accelerating their expulsion of Iranian gays and lesbians. In this case and that of Pegah Emambakhsh, a 40 year old lesbian, the Brits claim that if gays and lesbians are circumspect and discreet they won’t face persecution. It’s like claiming that if Ann Frank had just hidden herself better nothing would have happened to her. The danger in Medhi’s case is that the Brits, having already decided to deport him, will take him off the plane from the Netherlands and put him on a flight bound for Teheran.

    You can message the Dutch government by linking the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs at . Click on contact and then on Visas and Legalization. You can contact the Brits at and go to contact and then to general inquiries. Or try

    I should warn you, the attitude of the English government will reinforce the idea that Sam Adams and Ben Franklin got it right.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue, RainbowRED | Mar 10, 2008 6:53:37 PM

  3. Assuming this is all upfront and true, it is unconscionable that the UK would simply load the lad on a flight to Teheran once he lands in the UK. The attitude of "if you cool it you should be okay" is horrific - Bill is right on with his Anne Frank comparison. This story has finally made it to CNN International so perhaps more people will be made aware of the situation, but I believe that too many will simply not care about one Iranian gay being "lost" in the system. People need to remember the old saw about "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for etc.etc., . . . Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me." Look around everybody, it is all gearing up for a new hyperFascism.

    Posted by: Leducdor | Mar 11, 2008 4:09:05 AM

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