Now MPs join fight to save Mehdi Kazemi

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MPs from all three main political parties have joined peers to call for a moratorium on the deportation of asylum-seekers to Iran. The move follows a letter published in The Independent yesterday, in which 17 peers urged the Government to rethink asylum policy in the wake of the case of a gay teenager facing execution if deported to Iran.

A second letter signed by seven MPs, including Chris Huhne (Liberal Democrat), Andrew Dismore (Labour) and John Bercow (Conservative), says ministers have a moral duty to halt the deportation of any Iranian fearing persecution if returned to the state.

The parliamentarians of both Houses have been struck by the case of Mehdi Kazemi, 19, who claimed asylum in Britain in 2006 when he found out his former partner had been executed for sodomy. The Home Office rejected his application but after a public outcry finally agreed this month to reconsider his case.

Simon Hughes, MP for Southwark North and Bermondsey and president of the Liberal Democrats, organised the Commons letter. He said: "The Lords' letter about the Mehdi Kazemi case shows growing awareness that sending asylum-seekers back to countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe is unacceptable because of the risk to their safety and the abhorrent behaviour of those regimes."

Last week Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney, tabled an early day motion in support of Mr Kazemi. She said yesterday: "It is not sufficient to implement laws to protect oppressed groups without giving protection to asylum-seekers in the same groups from different countries."