Friday, March 07, 2008

Now Iranian Lesbian Who Fled to Britain Faces Deportation

THE INDEPENDENT: An Iranian lesbian who fled to Britain after her girlfriend was arrested and sentenced to death faces being forcibly returned after losing the latest round in her battle to be granted asylum.

The case of Pegah Emambakhsh, 40, comes a day after The Independent reported on the growing public outcry over the plight of a gay Iranian teenager who fears he will be executed if he is deported to Iran.

Both cases have provoked international protests against Britain and led to calls for an immediate moratorium on the deportation of gay and lesbian asylum-seekers who fear they will be persecuted in Iran.

More than 60 MEPs have signed a petition asking Gordon Brown to reverse the decision on Mehdi Kazemi, 19, who escaped to the Netherlands after the Home Office refused him asylum last year. His case is still before Dutch judges who will decide this month whether he should return to Britain where he faces deportation to a country which has already executed his boyfriend.

Gay rights group claim there are dozens more cases of gay and lesbian asylum-seekers living in Britain in fear of persecution and facing harsh punishments if forced to return to Iran.

Ms Emambakhsh came to the UK in 2005 fearing for her life after her partner had been arrested by Tehran police. Iranian gay rights groups have reported that that partner is in custody under sentence of death by stoning. Speaking through her asylum representative in Sheffield yesterday, Ms Emambakhsh said: "I will never, never go back. If I do I know I will die."

Under the Iranian Islamic Punishment Act, lesbians found guilty of sexual relations can be sentenced to 100 lashes. But, for a third offence, the punishment is execution. Now Iranian lesbian who fled to Britain faces deportation >>> By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor

Simon Hughes: No gay person should be sent back to Iran

Leading article: Squalid priorities

Mark Alexander (Paperback)
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