Gay peer speaks out against deportations to Iran

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A gay member of the House of Lords has demanded the government take action to stop a gay teenager being deported back to Iran where he could face the death penalty.

Today it was revealed that 19-year-old Mehdi Kazemi, who was refused asylum in Britain and fled to Holland, will be deported back to the UK.

He had unsuccessfully applied for asylum in the United Kingdom following the execution of his partner by Iranian authorities after being found guilty of sodomy.

Lord Alli is one of only two openly gay peers.

Today he asked minister Lord Bassam to explain the policy of returning gay people to a country where homosexual acts are punishable by execution.

“This young man’s partner was hung at an early age for simply being gay,” he said in the Lords today.

“The Home Office’s position is that gay people can return to Iran safely providing they are ‘discreet.’ Heavens knows what that means.

“What action will you take if that advice proves wrong and this man is executed for being gay.

“Because if that was me, or any member of this House, in that position, I would hope you would have a good answer.”

Lord Bassam replied:

“We do not believe that it is right to make returns when it is not safe to do so.

“We are extremely cautious in the way we operate returns.

“The Border and Immigration Agency only enforces the return of Iranian gay men when we are satisfied they are not in need of protection and we do not seek to enforce returns to Iran unless our decision making processes and the independent courts are satisfied that it is entirely safe to do so.”

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, said the organisation is “deeply disturbed” about his case.

“There is incontrovertible evidence that lesbian and gay people face danger in Iran and we will be raising this once again with the Home Secretary.”