Friday, December 21, 2007

Gay Iranian Teen Awaits Decision of Dutch Court Over Return to UK

LONDON, December 21, 2007 – A young gay Iranian, who fled the United Kingdom in fear after his asylum application with the Home Office’s Border and Immigration Agency failed earlier this year, will be spending the festive season hoping that a Dutch court will allow him to stay in the Netherlands.
UK Gay News highlighted the plight of 19 years-old Mehdi in April following the failure of his appeal against deportation from UK back to Iran.
Mehdi had arrived in the UK two years previously on a student visa and had completed his education in England.
Before leaving Iran, the teen had not only come to terms with the fact he was gay, but also had a serious boyfriend.
So scared of being forcibly removed to Iran, Mehdi managed to flee the UK and surfaced in the Netherlands before crossing the border into Germany.
The authorities eventually caught up with him and he returned again to the Netherlands.
Mehdi had his “day in court” after the Dutch authorities wanted to return him to the UK – there was no suggestion of him being returned to Iran as the Government in the Netherlands has a moratorium on returning gays to Iran.
“My main worry is that if they send me to the UK, the Home office would try to send me to Iran without any further review in my case,” he said today in an email.
The judge in the Netherlands is now considering the case. She is expected to hand down her decision early in the New Year on whether Mehdi can stay in the country or has to be returned to the UK.
During the court hearing, Mehdi’s lawyer said that the Netherlands had an obligation – and the legal responsibility – to let the teenager stay in the country, due to the UK’s “historical attitude” towards Iranian gay men and women seeking asylum.
His lawyer argued that Mehdi should be allowed to seek asylum in the Netherlands.
Last night, Mehdi gave an emotional “thank you” to his many supporters.
“I would like to thank the many people who have followed my case and have given me huge support over the past 15 months,” he said.
“I am sure I would have been dead by now if I you guys weren’t supporting me,” he added.
His supporters are led by his uncle, who lives in the UK. Mehdi also said that he had received fantastic world-wide support, including from the Toronto-based Iranian Queer Organisation, gay support groups in the Netherlands, MPs and other individuals in the UK

■ Don’t Leave Iranian Gays Abandoned. – read Mehdi’s story, including how his boyfriend in Iran was executed, HERE.

As in previous articles, Mehdi’s last name is not being used to protect his family in Iran.

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