The UK Gay news is reporting some good news: Mehdi Kazemi, the 20-year-old gay Iranian who has been trying to get asylum in the UK for two years, has been granted permission to stay in the United Kingdom.
Kazemi arrived in the UK in 2004 on a student visa to school. He later found out that his partner Parham had been arrested in Iran and had been forced to identify Mehdi as someone with whom he'd had a relationship. Then, in April 2006, he learned that Parham had been hanged.
Kazemi, then only 17, applied for asylum in Britain. He was denied, then tried to gain asylum in the Netherlands. Because Kazemi had already been rejected in Britain, the Dutch government refused to consider his case and insisted he be sent back to Britain. From there, he was to be sent back to his death in Iran.
It is well documented that being LGBT in Iran is a death sentence, despite President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claims that there are no homosexuals in Iran. Kazemi is only the latest in Iranian LGBTs that are fleeing for their life. The Democratic presidential candidates even weighted in on Kazemi's deportation. McCain, unsurprisingly, was silent on the issue of international human rights.
Kazemi's story is far from over, however. He will have to go through this process again in 5 years.
This only highlights the danger that our community faces abroad. We must continue to bring forward these stories and shine a light on the discrimination, imprisonment, and killing of our international family.
I am glad that Kazemi is safe for now. I pray that others from our international family find the same safety.