Brit Furor Over Asylum for Gay Iranian

Teen says boyfriend was killed; calls gay treatment 'genocide'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2008 10:45 AM CDT

A gay teenager who fears the death penalty at home in Iran, after his boyfriend was hanged for sodomy, is fighting for the right to stay in  the UK permanently, the Independent reports. Mehdi Kazemi, 19, lost his asylum claim in Britain and is now in a detention center in the Netherlands, but the British Home Secretary has bowed to pressure and agreed to reconsider. A Dutch court Tuesday said he could not claim asylum there.

“If I go back to Iran it will be most certainly death for me,” Kazemi said. During his British asylum appeal, the government claimed he would be safe in Iran if he was "discreet about his sexuality," the Independent notes. He responded that treatment of gays in Iran is "like a genocide no one will talk about." British Liberal Democrats want a “moratorium on deporting gay people to Iran,” said a spokesman; anything else, he said, would be “endorsing state-sanctioned murder.”  (More Iran stories.)

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