Presidential Candidates Called to Stop Gay Iranians' Deportations
PHILADELPHIA, April 3, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Equality Forum, a US headquartered national and international GLBT civil rights organization, called on Presidential candidates Clinton, McCain and Obama to send letters to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to revoke the deportation orders for the return of gays and lesbians in the UK to Iran. The UK issued a deportation order for 19-year-old Iranian Mehdi Kazemi to his homeland where he faces likely execution for being gay. The UK Home Office ordered him to be deported last year after his student visa expired. Kazemi lost his deportation appeal. Kazemi arrived in Britain in 2005 on a student visa. Kazemi's boyfriend, Parham, who was the same age, was arrested, tortured, and executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Kazemi fears arrest, torture and execution if he is returned to Iran. After losing his appeal of the deportation, Kazemi fled the UK and is currently in the Netherlands, where he was detained as an illegal immigrant. A Dutch court has ordered Kazemi returned to the UK. In March 2008, the European Parliament issued a resolution citing the expulsion of persons to a country where they would risk persecution, torture, and death, as a violation of European and international human rights obligations. There are no fewer than 12 gay and lesbian Iranians living in the UK who are at risk of deportation including a 40-year-old lesbian, Pegah Emambakhsh. Emambakhsh became a UK refugee after her partner in Iran was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death by stoning. Like Kazemi, Ms. Emambakhsh lost her UK deportation appeal. "Equality Forum calls on Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama to send letters to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown opposing the deportation of Kazemi and other gay and lesbian Iranians in the UK to Iran," stated Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum. "The Kazemi deportation is an opportunity for the presidential candidates to affirm their administration's commitment to a policy opposing human rights deportations." Equality Forum presents the largest annual national and international GLBT civil rights forum. Equality Forum 2008 will be held April 28 to May 4 in Philadelphia. The international focus of Equality Forum 2008 is Gays and Lesbians in the Muslim World. For details visit http://www.equalityforum.com/2008. Equality Forum is a national and international GLBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum undertakes high impact initiatives, produces documentary films, coordinates national and international GLBT History Month and presents the largest annual national and international GLBT civil rights forum.
SOURCE Equality Forum
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