Iranian lesbian released from UK immigration detention centre

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A lesbian woman due to be deported from the UK to her come country of Iran will have her case heard by The Court of Appeal.

Pegah Emambakhsh has been released on bail by British officials. She was scheduled for repatriation last month.

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.

In an email yesterday the Friends of Pegah Campaign revealed she had been released from custody.

“There are also other actions that we know are being taken on her behalf, by influential organisations at a high level in the UK,” the group wrote.

“We really don’t think that we would have got this far without the fantastic work you have put in supporting Pegah. She is truly grateful and gives her heartfelt thanks to you all – as do we. It is impossible to overstate the value of your support.

“This does not mean that Pegah is out of the woods but she is now in a much more hopeful position.

“As you will understand Pegah needs time to recover from the ordeal of the past few weeks.

“She also needs to get back in touch with the ordinary business of living her life in some peace and tranquility. We will keep you updated as events develop.”

The Italian government had intervened in Ms Emambakhsh’s case by offering her asylum if the UK deported her.

The 40-year-old Iranian sought asylum 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 arrested in Sheffield in August and taken to Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.

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.”