Friday, March 07, 2008

Asylum Laws Gone Mad

The laws governing who could claim asylum in the UK used ot be pretty straight forward. If you life was in danger from systematic persecution if you returned to you home country it was likely that asylum would be granted and you would have the right to abide in this country.

However, the case of Mehdi Kazemi from Iran shows just how stupid the Home Office has become over what are genuine asylum cases and what are immigrants, illegal or otherwise.

Mr Kazemi is 19 years old and in 2004 came to this country to study English. In 2006 his boyfriend had been arrested in Iran charged with sodomy and hanged, but not before under interrogation the police had got him to name Mehdi as his sexual partner. Fearing that the same fate would await him should he return he sought asylum where he was. Admittedly he did not enter the country seeking asylum, but other situations had changed while he was here on a valid visa. When he was turned down he fled to the Netherlands hoping to avoid exportation to almost certainly the gallows.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Columbia University last September that there were no homosexuals in his country, in reponse to a question about two gay men who had been executed there. Almost boastful he was met then by jeers and laughter. However, there may be some essence to his story if every time a homosexual is found they is executed, according to human rights organisations about 4,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed in Iran since 1979. So there will clearly be not many openly gay people left in his country, however, it does not mean they do not exist as the executions keep going on.

The Home Office admits that Iran executes homosexual men, but fails to see this as systematic persecution which would enable Mehdi Kazemi the right to claim asylum. Is this yet another case of them not being fit for purpose, even on the Brown watch.

There is a petition to sign to make you feelings known. Please feel free to sign it and do it fast as time is of an essence in this case.

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