Gay Iranian demands guarantee he can stay

A gay teenager spared an immediate return to Iran, where he claims he faces the death penalty, said yesterday that he will only feel safe if the Home Secretary personally guarantees his right to remain in Britain.

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, who lost his asylum claim in Britain even though it was alleged that his former boyfriend was executed for sodomy, spoke openly of his distrust of the Government.

His case has already provoked a public outcry, forcing the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to agree to reconsider his claim for refugee status. But speaking from a detention centre in Rotterdam, where he is being held after fleeing to the Netherlands, Mr Kazemi said he fears for his future. "I know what Jacqui Smith has said about my case and that of course is a good thing," he said. "But I know what this government can do to me. They tried to take me at Christmas time two years ago when everyone was away, even my lawyer."

It was only the intervention of his MP, the Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes, which prevented his deportation. In an 11th hour appeal, Mr Hughes persuaded the Home Office to halt the deportation so that he could look into the case.

"I can not be confident they won't try this again, perhaps in the Easter holiday," Mr Kazemi said yesterday. "These things have happened to me before. What they haven't done is promise me I won't go back to Iran."

A Dutch appeal court ruled on Tuesday that Mr Kazemi could not claim asylum in the country.

He is allowed just one hour a week when he can meet visitors. Last week he used it to see family friends, and asked for CDs and science fiction books.

But his attention has now turned to his transfer to Britain. "If I am allowed to stay in this country I want to continue with my English studies. I like it in England, I felt safe and much freer. If I go back to Iran it will be most certainly death for me."

During his asylum appeal the Government told Mr Kazemi he would be safe in Iran if he was discreet about his sexuality. This is something that he believes is impossible to do. He said that for gay people in Iran it was "like a genocide no one will talk about". Mr Kazemi says he misses his family in Iran, although he knows his father has disowned him. "I miss my mother and my little sister a lot, but by father wants to kill me, he does not accept me."

MPs and gay rights groups were hoping last night that the Home Secretary would grant Mr Kazemi his wish. Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "It is the strong view of my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I that, in the current political climate, there should be an immediate moratorium on deporting gay people to Iran. To do otherwise is tantamount to the government endorsing state-sanctioned murder."

Announcing the decision to rehear Mr Kazemi's case, Ms Smith said on Thursday: "Following representations made on behalf of Mehdi Kazemi, and in the light of new circumstances since the original decision was made, I have decided that Mr Kazemi's case should be reconsidered on his return to the UK."

Mr Kazemi is expected to arrive next week after the Dutch deputy justice minister has made a statement to the Netherlands parliament about his case.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz