Italy ready to grant asylum to Iranian lesbian

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A spokesperson for Italian government has confirmed that they will grant ayslum to a lesbian woman due to be deported from the UK to Iran.

Pegah Emambakhsh is currently being detained by British officials and she is scheduled for repatriation on Tuesday.

Her sexual orientation and her past life in Iran may lead to her being executed.

Even if she is not sentenced to death, she is likely to be prosecuted and tortured by Iran’s religious officials.

Punishment for sexual intercourse among lesbians in Iran is 100 lashes and in case of recidivity, execution.

Italian equal opportunties minister Barbara Pollastrini has Italy’s prime minister Romano Prodi’s support over granting asylum to Emambakhsh, a ministry spokesman told news website Adnkronos International (AKI).

The 40-year-old Iranian sought asylum in the UK in 2005. She had escaped from her home country after her partner was arrested, tortured, and subsequently sentenced to death by stoning.

Her father was also arrested, interrogated and tortured for information on her whereabouts.

The claim for asylum was rejected by the UK Border and Immigration Agency (BIA), despite her appeals.

Ms Emambakhsh was finally arrested in Sheffield two weeks ago and taken to Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.

The Asylum Seeker Support Initiative, who are supporting Ms Emambhaksh’s case, said in a statement:

“BAI has chosen not to believe that she is in such danger if returned to Iran, even though the UK government are well aware of the terrible situation that gay people face there.”

“BIA will be committing a serious miscarriage of justice and human rights violation if they insist on Ms Emambhaksh’s deportation.”

She was due to be deported on 16th August, but her removal from the UK was stalled by the late intervention of the office of Sheffield Central Member of Parliament Richard Caborn.

Many lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs came to power in 1979. According to gay rights group Outrage: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is qualitatively more homophobic than almost any other state on earth.

“Its government-promoted and religious-sanctioned torture and execution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people marks out Iran as a state acting in defiance of all agreed international human rights conventions.”