LONDON, March 14, 2008 – Mehdi
Kazemi, the 19-years-old gay Iranian currently in a Netherlands detention
centre awaiting removal to the UK where, until yesterday he was concerned
that he would be immediately returned to Iran, has this morning thanked his
many supporters throughout the world.
Speaking on the telephone to his
uncle, who is only being identified as Saeed, Mehdi said: “I am very
thankful for everyone’s concern and help.”
Saeed also praised the enormous
amount of support that Mehdi had received in the past week, from
politicians, the media, activists and ordinary individual.
“We are moving in the right
direction, and I am a lot happier,” Saeed told UK Gay News.
He added that Mehdi was encouraged
by yesterday’s brief announcement by British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith
that Mehdi’s case would be reviewed,
lifting the possibility of an immediate deportation to Iran when he arrived
back in the UK.
“Following representations made on
behalf of Mehdi Kazemi, and in the light of new circumstances since the
original decision was made, I have decided that Mr Kazemi’s case should be
reconsidered on his return to the UK from the Netherlands,” Ms. Smith said
in a statement yesterday afternoon.
The announcement from the Home
Office came as the European Parliament passed a resolution that said, in
part that the EU Member
states involved must “find a common solution to ensure that Mehdi Kazemi is
granted asylum or protection on the EU soil and not sent back to Iran, where
he would be executed, hereby ensuring that article 3 of the ECHR is fully
respected by all European authorities and notably, in this case, by the UK;
asks the Commission and the Council to fully cooperate with the Member
States on this case.”
Peers in the House of Lords also
petitioned the Home Secretary yesterday.
Saeed revealed that Mehdi had been
put on “suicide watch” again by the detention centre authorities following
the decision of the Netherlands court on Tuesday that he was to be returned
to the UK.
“Apparently, they did this as a
precaution,” he said.
“But he came off ‘round-the-clock’
observation this morning.”
He has always maintained that it
would be in the best interests of his nephew if he were to be returned to
the UK where he speaks the language and has family. But only if the
possibility of his deportation was removed.
Having lived in the UK for more
than 30 years, Saeed said that he had first met Mehdi in 2001 when he
visited Iran. And Mehedi had “come out” to his uncle in early 2006 while
studying in the UK.
A few months later, Mehdi was a
‘face in the crowd’ when, in Brighton, he took part in his first – and only
– Gay Pride.
There is no indication yet as to
when Mehdi will be returned from the Netherlands to the UK.
Secretary to Review Case of Gay Iranian Teen As Euro Parliament Backs Mehdi.
The UK Government is to review the case of Mehdi Kazemi after the European
Parliament expressed its support for a motion tabled by Michael Cashman MEP.
(UK Gay News, March 14, 2008)
Iran: Lib Dems Attack Home Office While Peers Quiz Government.
The Home Office needs to understand that gay men and women face arrest and
execution in Iran, the Liberal Democrats for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Equality group DELGA said last night.
(UK Gay News, March 12, 2008)
Gift from Netherlands for Gay Iranian – One Way Ticket to UK.
It was not the Christmas present that a young gay Iranian wanted. A court in the Netherlands has
ruled that Mehdi, the gay Iranian teenager, has to be returned to the United
Kingdom, where he faces deportation back to Iran. (UK Gay News,
December 24, 2007)
Gay Iranian Teen Awaits Decision of Dutch Court Over
Return to UK.
A young gay Iranian, who fled the
United Kingdom in fear after his asylum application with the Home Office’s
Border and Immigration Agency failed earlier this year, will be spending the
festive season hoping that a Dutch court will allow him to stay in the
Netherlands. (UK Gay News, December 21, 2007)
They Hang Gay Teenagers, Don’t They? A gay Iranian teenager whose asylum claim was denied in the UK fled to
the Netherlands, and then to Germany. The Germans returned him to the Dutch,
who are now threatening to return him to the Brits, who have already decided
to return the gay teenager to Iran. And you know what they do to gay
teenagers in Iran, right? (Seattle Stranger - USA, December 20)
Young Gay Iranian Soon on His Way Back to UK? Mehdi, the young gay Iranian who fled the United Kingdom
in April, could be back in the country within weeks, his uncle revealed last
(UK Gay News,
October 17, 2007)
Year Old Says ‘I Am an Iranian Gay’. The following email has been
received by the IRanian Queer Organisation in Toronto from a young gay man
who was studying at school in UK and, after difficulties with the UK Home
Office over asylum managed to flee England, ending up in the Netherlands.
The letter is published here as written.
(UK Gay News,
September 26, 2007)
Iranian Gays Abandoned. By Mehdi.
This article was written by a 19-years-old gay Iranian
who tells how, while he was a student in London, his
boyfriend back home was executed for being gay. Mehdi says he was
scared of returning home and meeting the same fate when his student visa
expired last year – and of his asylum application to the Home Office. (UK Gay News, April
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence.
Posted: 14 March 2008 at
12:00 (UK time)