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

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Experienced Cover Supervisor

£12000 - £14400 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Experienced Cover Supervisor...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Account Manager

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are proud to be on...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Conservative MP Louise Mensch has made enemies in high places through her fearless pursuit of the hacking scandal  

Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders

Grace Dent
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London  

When rents are so high that you have to share a bed with a stranger, surely the revolution can’t be far off

Grace Dent
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project