Leading article: Disgraceful sexual persecution

Share
Related Topics

It is good news that Mehdi Kazemi, who faces the death penalty in Iran merely for being gay, has finally been granted asylum in the UK. But the news is not good enough. Mr Kazemi came to London to study in 2005, but the following year learned that his former boyfriend had been executed for sodomy – and that before he was hanged, he named Mr Kazemi as his partner. Then began his long struggle to find sanctuary.

His application for asylum was rejected by the UK on the grounds that, while it was conceded that Iran executes homosexuals, there was no "systematic" repression of gay men and lesbians. But when Mr Kazemi fled to the Netherlands to seek asylum there, his application was rejected on the same grounds; no one, he was told, was executed "solely" because they were gay; he would be safe in Iran if he was discreet about his sexuality. This was a disgraceful judgment. Homosexuality is illegal in many Muslim countries, but in Iran the punishments for same-sex relations between consenting adults in private are particularly brutal.

On the testimony of "four righteous men", homosexuals are slowly strangled by being hanged in public from cranes in the street. Human rights groups estimate that some 4,000 gay men and lesbians, some as young as the age of 15, have been executed in the past 30 years. Many more have been given beatings, 100 lashes. In Iran no public discussion of homosexuality is allowed, gay groups are banned and any political party that supports gay rights has its candidates removed from the ballot paper. It is true that the regime often adds sodomy to the list of crimes of which it accuses political dissidents but that does not lessen Iran's offence, rather it increases it.

The idea that Britain will be swamped with bogus asylum-seekers from Iran falsely claiming to be gay is risible.

Mehdi Kazemi, and others like him whose only crime is their sexuality, should not be forced to depend upon individual acts of compassion by the Home Secretary. This country needs something more systematic. That should begin with a moratorium on the deportation of asylum-seekers to Iran.

This is one aspect of asylum policy which does not need prevarication posing as a government review.

Action should be taken immediately to declare that those fleeing Iran, and certain other countries, on grounds of sexual persecution will not be forced to return to their homelands. Not to do so would be tantamount to Britain endorsing state-sanctioned murder on grounds of sexuality. The Government should announce a change in the application of the rules at once.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
It's not only the British who haven't been behaving well abroad; pictured here are German fans celebrating their team's latest victory  

Holiday snaps that bite back: What happens in Shagaluf no longer stays in Shagaluf

Ellen E Jones
Simon Laird (left) and Sister Simon Laird, featured in the BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets  

Estates of the nation: Let's hear it for the man in the street

Simmy Richman
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?