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Gay Iranian in Europe: Mehdi Says ‘Thank You’

 

 

 


 



 

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.

SEE ALSO

Home 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)

Gays in 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)

Christmas 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 night.  (UK Gay News, October 17, 2007)

Nineteen 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)

Don’t Leave 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 18, 2007)

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Posted: 14 March 2008 at 12:00 (UK time)

 

 


 

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