Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Iranian assylum seeker fails in UK on claim of persecution because of sexual orientation.

March 11, 2008 -- Updated 1937 GMT (0337 HKT)

Gay Iranian teen loses asylum appeal

(CNN) -- The Netherlands has rejected an asylum plea by a gay Iranian teenager trying to escape possible persecution in his homeland.

Mehdi Kazemi believes he will face persecution if he is made to return to Iran.

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, had originally sought asylum in Britain, where he was taking classes on a student visa, because, he said, his boyfriend had been executed in Iran after saying he and Kazemi had been in a gay relationship. Britain's Home Office rejected his request, prompting Kazemi to flee to Netherlands.

Tuesday's decision by the Council of State -- the highest administrative court in the Netherlands --means Kazemi could face deportation to Britain, which he fears will send him back to Iran.

Council spokeswoman Daniela Tempelman said the council decided it must comply with the Dublin Regulation and return Kazemi to Britain. Video Watch how teenager has lost his right to remain. »

Under the Dublin Regulation, European Union member nations agree that an application for asylum submitted in any EU country would be handled by that country alone. The regulation seeks to ensures that an asylum seeker is not redirected from nation to nation simply because none will take responsibility.

Kazemi's initial appeal for asylum in the Netherlands, made in October, was rejected. He then appealed unsuccessfully to a regional court in December. His last appeal was to the Council of State in January.

Tempelman said that in order for the Dutch court to consider Kazemi's asylum application, he needed to prove that Britain did not handle his asylum application properly, but he wasn't able to prove any wrongdoing on the part of the British government.

Kazemi now has exhausted his chances for appeal in the Netherlands and, according to Tempelman, could be returned to Britain on a short notice. The British government about six months ago accepted the Dutch request to take him back.

Kazemi's lawyer will have the option of taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights to request an "interim measure" that could allow Kazemi to stay in Europe until further notice.

"If anybody signs his deportation papers and says, look, he's got to be deported to Iran, that means they have signed his death sentence," said Kazemi's uncle Saeed, who asked CNN to withhold his last name over safety concerns.

Gay rights activists in Europe and Iran are also researching Kazemi's case.


"When Britain is prepared to send a young man back to possible execution, that is inhumanity on a monumental scale," said Peter Tatchell, an activist for gay campaign group OutRage. "And I hang my head in shame, as a British citizen."

In a written statement, Britain's Home Office said that even though homosexuality is illegal in Iran and homosexuals do experience discrimination, it does not believe that homosexuals are routinely persecuted purely on the basis of their sexuality.


Elle said...

This looks like a case for HR/HW! According to the article, the Home Department's decision claims that there is not enough evidence proving that homosexuals are persecuted in Iran. This is a problem. Is the evidence simply not there, or has no one gone to look for it? Due to the publicity of this case, and the fact that Kazemi has a lawyer, I am sure that research has been done. It is curious then that the Home Department would take this stance. Doesn't outlawing homosexuality relegate it to status where an individual can be persecuted for it? I know that many governments have to make decisions about whether threatening behavior is persecution or prosecution. I remember reading about cases where people come from other countries and claim asylum because they have been incarcerated in their home country and the prison conditions are life-threatening. How do you determine whether to send an individual back to that? If homosexuality is against the law, how do you provide asylum? It's a law that equally affects all homosexuals in the country. Nevertheless, this line of logic is in and of itself dangerous. Ok, homosexuality is illegal, but this man will be killed for it. The best evidence is that his boyfriend was killed. When assessing evidence in the US, an IJ looks at the similarity in circumstances and the recentness of the event. This should work towards the client's favor. I wonder what other factors went into the Home Office decision.
The denial of this asylum claim is most unfortunate for gay rights. If the only reason for the denial was lack of corroborating evidence, and there was the evidence of the boyfriend, then I don't see why Kazemi should be denied.

Anonymous said...

If the UK were to take on everyone that comes to the border claiming persecution then the UK would be full of immigrants.
We are an island....there is no reason for people to claim asylum here.
You are meant to claim asylum in the first safe country you come have to pass through other countries to get to the UK so these people are clearly not leaving their country because of persecution but because we have a benefits system that they know they can abuse.
It sounds bad but its fact!
If i were to fear for my life in the UK where would i go:? Who would protect me??
How has this become our responsibility?

There must be hundreds of thousands of homosexuals in are we expected to take them all as they feel threatened in their country?

We should be educating these people not opening the gates and letting every waif and stray with a sob story in to our country WE CANT AFFORD T