A day after British newspapers reported the story of a young Iranian gay man who was denied asylum because he faced certain death upon return to Iran, the Home Office denied asylum to an Iranian lesbian. Pegah Emambakhsh fled to England after her lover was arrested by Tehran police and reports indicate her partner faces the possibility of being stoned to death. Under the Iranian Punishment Act, lesbians found guilty of sexual relations can be sentenced to 100 lashes. But, for a third offence, the punishment is execution.
In turning down the request of Ms. Emambakhsh, the Home Office said that provided Iranians are discreet about their homosexuality, they will not be persecuted! The Netherlands and Germany have announced a moratorium on all deportations involving gay and lesbian Iranians. Omar Kuddus, of Gay Asylum UK asked: “How many more young Iranians have to die before the British govrnment takes action?”
What has happened to the generous spirit of Great Britain to those who are persecuted in other lands? How can a government agency utter the completely ridiculous statement that if one is “discreet” then death will not be forthcoming? The Labor Government of Great Britain was founded by men and women who were dedicated to the concept of freedom for all people not just in their own land, but all over the world. Something has happened to the Labor government and its spiritual values.