Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mehdi Kazemi - Gay teenager facing execution in Iran

First things first, I do not support war against Iran. I do though think its possible to be anti war and to criticise the Iranian regime . As a socialist I believe we should condemn the reactionary nature of the Iranian state and highlight the attacks on LGBT people, women , trade unionists and socialists . We should support those groups in their struggles. We should not make excuses or downplay the brutal reality of the Iranian regime in the name of anti imperialism. Its unprincipled to ignore the plight of those under attack even if Ahmadinejad doesn't much like Bush.

Its also tactically wrong. If we on the left downplay the reality what message does that send? Wittering on about sex changes won't win people round to an anti war position when the evidence is presented by the war mongers of the nature of Iran. How can we say we are progressive, support women, trade unionists , LGBT people when we abandon them . How can we win people to socialism if we cant speak out against oppression.

Nope, we need to clearly state why we oppose war, that we are in solidarity with the oppressed people in Iran and support their struggles to challenge and overthrow the regime. That way we are honest and principled and a little bit fussy about who we make alliances with.

Right that's my rant.

So lets see the left show some support for Mehdi Kazemi :

A gay teenager who sought sanctuary in Britain when his boyfriend was executed by the Iranian authorities now faces the same fate after losing his legal battle for asylum.
Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to London to study English in 2004 but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.
In a telephone conversation with his father in Tehran, Mr Kazemi was told that before the execution in April 2006, his boyfriend had been questioned about sexual relations he had with other men and under interrogation had named Mr Kazemi as his partner.

Fearing for his own life if he returned to Iran, Mr Kazemi claimed asylum in Britain. But late in 2007 his case was refused. Terror-stricken at the prospect of deportation the young Iranian made a desperate attempt to evade deportation and fled Britain for Holland where he is now being detained amid a growing outcry from campaigners.
He appeared before a Dutch court yesterday to plead with the authorities not to return him to Britain where he is almost certain to be sent back to Iran.

Mr Kazemi's future will now be decided by a Dutch appeal court, which will rule whether to grant him permission to apply for asylum in Holland, which offers special protection to gay Iranians, or whether he will be deported to Britain. His case has attracted support from leading gay rights groups across Europe who are campaigning to allow him to live in Britain.

Peter Tatchell, of the gay rights campaign group Outrage, described the Government's policy as "outrageous and shameful". He said: "If Mehdi is sent back to Iran he will be at risk of execution because of his homosexuality. This is a flagrant violation of Britain's obligations under the refugee convention.

"It is just the latest example of the Government putting the aims of cutting asylum numbers before the merits of individual cases. The whole world knows that Iran hangs young, gay men and uses a particularly barbaric method of slow strangulation. In a bid to fulfil its target to cut asylum numbers the Government is prepared to send this young man to his possible death. It is a heartless, cruel mercenary anti-refugee policy."

According to Iranian human rights campaigners, more than 4,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. The last reported case of the death penalty imposed against a gay man was that of Makwan Moloudzadeh, 21, who was executed in December after being convicted for sodomy, or lavat, a capital offence under Iranian law.

The Home Office's own guidance issued to immigration officers concedes that Iran executes homosexual men but, unaccountably, rejects the claim that there is a systematic repression of gay men and lesbians.

I'll keep an eye out for the decision as to whether he is returned to Britain. Meanwhile there is a petition here .

More on Iran and LGBT people here.

This should be a basic for the left, supporting women, LGBT people, trade unionists against repressive regimes, sadly its not these days.

The brutal reality in Iran.


An Iranian Lesbian,Pegah Emambakhsh, faces deportation.
In Iran :

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.

The Home Office view :

In turning down Ms Emambakhsh and Mr Kazemi's asylum applications, the Home Office has said that, provided Iranians are discreet about their homosexuality, they will not be persecuted.

What the fuck ! Given that the two people highlighted here are known to be lesbian or gay, does that mean that its all their own fault then for being 'indiscreet'?
Does the fact that only 'indiscreet' lesbian and gay people get stoned or executed make it all alright ?

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