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Humane decision by UK government on Iranian refugee.
May 20, 2008 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Mehdi Kazemi is granted asylum in the UK. Mehdi, now 20, was studying in the UK when Parham (his boyfriend) was arrested for the crime of homosexuality by the Iranian government. Mehdi was named by his boyfriend and warned he was liable to arrest on his planned return. The UK Home Office denied him asylum [despite a thoughtful campaign by human rights campaigners] - because it was said he had overstayed his student visa and was therefore not seen as genuinely seeking asylum. So he escaped to the Netherlands. That's where it gets complicated.

Under EU asylum rules, generally someone seeking asylum is required to apply in the member state first entered. That meant, Dutch judges ruled, that he had to return to the UK - and the risk of being deported to the place where he was at risk of losing his life. Mehdi's case has attracted international attention.

Mehdi was informed that Parham, his boyfriend, was executed in Iran in 2006.
posted by dash_slot- (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Brilliant! Thanks for the post. Good test case, bet it upsets the BNPers though....
posted by Wilder at 2:01 PM on May 20, 2008


The link has a note saying he was granted leave to stay for 5 years. Is that typical in the UK? Does he have to re-apply, or what?
posted by Banky_Edwards at 2:02 PM on May 20, 2008


Every time I think of asylum cases, it reminds me of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
posted by jabberjaw at 2:02 PM on May 20, 2008


Here's another similar case going on right now.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:12 PM on May 20, 2008


I am proud of my country.
posted by jaduncan at 2:14 PM on May 20, 2008


Banky_Edwards: "The link has a note saying he was granted leave to stay for 5 years. Is that typical in the UK? Does he have to re-apply, or what?

I believe that Leave to remain can be term limited, or discretionary, or unconditional (leading to citizenship). I would expect no change in the basic circumstances (but much change in the UK political environment) in the next 5 years, when he must re-apply.

My word, I hope he is free and celebrating tonight. Here's to you, Mehdi.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:15 PM on May 20, 2008


I see demonstrations about cases like this taking place outside the Home Office most weeks. It is so, so nice to see one where the outcome is positive.

The reason it's 5 years rather than a permanent right to remain is that the rules for claiming asylum in the UK were very recently changed. Now all asylum cases that are granted get 5 years, then a review at which they may be granted indefinite leave to remain, or at which the leave may run out (for instance if conditions in the home country have changed for the better). It was one of the less noticed of the recent immigration and asylum reforms that also included things like the new points based system for the managed migration side of things.
posted by greycap at 2:21 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you call acts as barbaric as hanging gay teenagers publicly from construction cranes two and three at a time "executions" It legitimizes these state-perpetrated crimes against humanity.
posted by longsleeves at 2:35 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


longsleeves: "If you call acts as barbaric as hanging gay teenagers publicly from construction cranes two and three at a time "executions" It legitimizes these state-perpetrated crimes against humanity."

My sympathies are with you, longsleeves. I use the word 'executed' because i) I wanted to avoid editorialisation, and ii) the reality is that the current government, illegitimately elected it is true, is sovereign and defines both crime and punishment in that state. However, murder - child murder, in several cases - more accurately describes the outcome to me.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:17 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Every time I think of asylum cases, it reminds me of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty:

You never lived in London (or New York), have you? Everytime I think of asylum cases, I wonder if anyone in the Government is doing anything at all. If my eyes do not deceive me, they seem to let everyone and anyone in.

generally someone seeking asylum is required to apply

The Dutch judges were correct. It is only in exceptional circumstances where you can avoid this.

You cannot fault the Home Office for actually following the rules whilst giving Mehdi a pass for not doing so.

At the end of the day, Mehdi should not have let his time limits expire without making application. It would seem that he had sufficient grounds. One assumes he is literate. The Home Office must prints forms in every language known to man. The mistake was his, but I am happy the Home Office was able to save him from his own stupidity.
posted by three blind mice at 3:32 PM on May 20, 2008


Feeling swamped, TBM?

BTW, I haven't seen the 'out of time' reference, what are you saying? That he should have applied before his boyfriend was arrested?
posted by dash_slot- at 3:50 PM on May 20, 2008


I think TBM means he should have applied before his student visa ran out.
posted by athenian at 4:14 PM on May 20, 2008


Oh, and TBM - there were 26,000 applications for asylum in 2007, compared to about half a million legal immigrants. Asylum seeker != people with funny accents in London.
posted by athenian at 4:20 PM on May 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


If my eyes do not deceive me, they seem to let everyone and anyone in.

You're just jealous because refugees still have their hair after 25.
posted by srboisvert at 5:51 PM on May 20, 2008


Man, Iran sucks.
posted by hjo3 at 6:21 PM on May 20, 2008


My sympathies are with you, longsleeves. I use the word 'executed' because i) I wanted to avoid editorialisation, and ii) the reality is that the current government, illegitimately elected it is true, is sovereign and defines both crime and punishment in that state. However, murder - child murder, in several cases - more accurately describes the outcome to me

I do understand.
posted by longsleeves at 9:01 PM on May 20, 2008


Here in Armenia I often talk with young gay people who are interested in seeking asylum. They can't imagine why the U.S. doesn't allow asylum to for homosexual status as a threat to personal safety.
posted by k8t at 10:22 PM on May 20, 2008


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