Iranian lesbian who fled to Britain faces deportation
An Iranian lesbian who fled to Britain after her girlfriend was arrested and sentenced to death faces being forcibly returned after losing the latest round in her battle to be granted asylum.
The case of Pegah Emambakhsh, 40, comes a day after The Independent reported on the growing public outcry over the plight of a gay Iranian teenager who fears he will be executed if he is deported to Iran.
Both cases have provoked international protests against Britain and led to calls for an immediate moratorium on the deportation of gay and lesbian asylum-seekers who fear they will be persecuted in Iran.
There is overwhelming evidence that Iranian gay men and lesbians whose sexuality is discovered are likely to be executed, but the British Government is still refusing them asylum. Simon Hughes MP wrote,
My strong view is that, in the present political climate, no person who is lesbian or gay should be sent back to Iran…
The Home Office claims that a gay person can return to Iran and avoid persecution by being “discreet”. All the advice is that in Iran, to be discreet means that you would have to deny your identity. The punishment for giving in to personal feelings might well be nothing less than torture or death. This is clearly a form of discrimination and a serious breach of his human rights. It must now be clear to the Home Office that it is wrong to send back gay and lesbian people to Iran (or any other country with similar laws and practice) where all the evidence shows they will be persecuted.
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