London Supporters of Gay Iranian Teen Stage Downing St Protest
London supporters of gay Iranian teen Mehdi Kazemi staged the demonstration outside Prime Minister Gordon Brown's residence at 10 Downing Street I posted about on Friday. These photographs of the protestors were shot by UK blogger Cosmodaddy.
Kazemi, who awaits deportation from The Netherlands to the UK, was granted a temporary reprieve from deportation from Britain by the Home Secretary last week after public outcry. Kazemi's prior 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.
Activists have been working hard demanding Britain change their asylum policies.
UK Gay News reports: " Over 120 protesters braved hail and rain on Saturday to demand that gay Iranian asylum seeker, Mehdi Kazemi, be granted refuge in the UK. They also urged asylum for the Iranian lesbian refugee, Pegah Emambakhsh, and an estimated 12 other gay Iranians who are at risk of deportation back to Tehran. There were calls for a “fundamental reform” of the way the Home Office treats LGBTI asylum applicants."
"The government is currently failing LGBTI refugees. Asylum staff and adjudicators receive race and gender awareness training but no training at all on sexual orientation issues. As a result, they often make stereotyped assumptions: that a feminine woman can’t be a lesbian or that a masculine man cannot be gay. They sometimes rule that someone who has been married must be faking their homosexuality. The government refuses to explicitly rule that homophobic and transphobic persecution are legitimate grounds for granting asylum. This signals to asylum staff and judges that claims by LGBTI people are not as worthy as those based on persecution because of a person's ethnicity, gender, politics or faith. The Home Office country reports on homophobic and transphobic persecution are often partial, inaccurate and misleading. They consistently downplay the severity of victimisation suffered by LGBTI people in violently homophobic countries like Iran, Nigeria, Iraq, Uganda, Palestine, Algeria and Jamaica. Cuts in the funding of legal aid for asylum claims means that most asylum applicants – gay and straight – are unable to prepare an adequate submission at their asylum hearing..."
More photos at Cosmodaddy's Flickr page.
Peter Tatchell on Iran and Gays: It's Like Nazi Germany [tr]
Following Reprieve, Gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi Thanks Supporters [tr]
Save Gay Iranian Teen Madhi Kazemi [tr]
Gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi Seeking Asylum in the UK [tr]