From The Times
March 7, 2009
Rights activist Oscar Kamau Kingara shot dead in central Nairobi
Tristan McConnell in Nairobi
(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. 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.