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Friday, March 14, 2008

Mehdi Kazemi's appeal for asylum will be reconsidered

Apparently our campaign to support Mehdi Kazemi is working. An I'm not talking just about me, this case has been receiving attention worldwide, and EveryOne Group has been giving special attention to this case.

LONDON (Reuters) - A gay Iranian teenager was granted a reprieve on Thursday from deportation to Iran, where he says he could be hanged for his homosexuality.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in a statement that "in the light of new circumstances" 19-year-old Mehdi Kazemi's appeal for asylum should be reconsidered.

"This is very positive. But reconsidered doesn't mean he'll get a permit, they could still deny what he is asking," Kazemi's Dutch lawyer, Borg Palm, told Reuters by telephone.

Kazemi came to Britain to study in 2005, lawyers have said. He later learned that his lover in Iran had been hanged after being charged and convicted of sodomy. Homosexuality is illegal in the Islamic republic.

Fearing for his life, Kazemi sought asylum in Britain, but his claim was rejected.

Members of the Lords urged Smith earlier on Thursday to show mercy and grant Kazemi asylum in Britain, where his uncle has lived for 30 years.

"We are deeply concerned at the possible execution of Mehdi Kazemi if he is refused asylum in the UK and is deported to Iran," read a letter to Smith signed by 63 members of the Lords.

Kazemi fled to the Netherlands and sought asylum there, but a Dutch court this week turned down his application, saying as he had applied in Britain he must return there to pursue his case.
An next is a Press Release from EveryOne Group:

After the historical approval of the European Resolution (see below) the British Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, decided a few hours ago to suspend the procedure that would entail deportation to Iran for Mehdi Kazemi, the young Iranian gay, member of EveryOne.

What happened today is the result of the international intervention which saw EveryOne Group with the Nonviolent Radical Party and the associations Nessuno Tocchi Caino and Certi Diritti on the front line.

“When we took on the task of trying to save Mehdi”, say the leaders of EveryOne, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, enthusiastically, “the young Iranian boy faced deportation and death on the scaffold in Iran.

Then we and our allies found ourselves flanked by a network of solidarity which prevented yet another crime against human rights. It is the first step towards a society that is no longer indifferent, a society that is capable of respecting the rights of refugees who are the weakest link in humanity.
We have to express our deepest satisfaction at this important victory on the field of human rights, which has resulted in the saving of a human life and written an important page in European history:

from now on the highest authorities will guarantee that in all the Member States Directive 2004/83/CE is applied, which calls for the recognition of refugee status also for people persecuted in their country of origin because of their sexual orientation.
“It is a triumph for human civilization”, conclude the leaders of EveryOne, “a prelude for our next campaigns, the aims of which are to safeguard refugees and other persecuted minorities.

While we celebrate the saving of a life, however, we must continue to fight so that nations travel along the road of human rights and abandon persecutions and injustices which are the legacy of ages we have to leave behind us.”

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