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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

British Government to Execute Iranian Homosexuals

posted by on March 11 at 9:26 AM

This leaves me speechless.

An Iranian lesbian who fled to Britain after her girlfriend was arrested and sentenced to death faces being forcibly returned after losing the latest round in her battle to be granted asylum.

The case of Pegah Emambakhsh, 40, comes a day after The Independent reported on the growing public outcry over the plight of a gay Iranian teenager who fears he will be executed if he is deported to Iran….

In turning down Ms Emambakhsh and Mr Kazemi’s asylum applications, the Home Office has said that, provided Iranians are discreet about their homosexuality, they will not be persecuted.

Wow. Setting aside the whole blame-the-victim aspect of this statement—be discreet, kids, and this won’t happen to you!—discretion isn’t really an option at this point for Ms. Emambakhsh and Mr. Kazemi. In Mr. Kazemi’s case, a gay teenager, Iranian authorities have already arrested and executed his boyfriend. If he’s sent back, he dies. Period. If Ms. Emambakhsh is sent back, she dies. Period. And if the British government sends them back, it will be a party to their murders. Period.

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Apparently gays are the new Jews. How tragic.

Posted by AMB | March 11, 2008 9:37 AM

But wait - they don't have gays in Iran. I mean, if Ahmedinejad said so, it must be true, right?

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | March 11, 2008 9:39 AM

It's interesting that the Brits want to keep gays out, but seem to have had no problem letting in extremest Muslim clerics that they're now having to watch night and day.

Posted by Johnny | March 11, 2008 9:42 AM

This makes me want to cry. I don't understand how deportation is even a seriously considered option in a supposedly enlightened country. What is it going to take for people to wake up about this issue?

Posted by Beguine | March 11, 2008 9:42 AM

I'm sure all this nonsense in Iran will come to a halt when President Obama begins the "dialogue" with Iran he's been talking about.

Posted by JMR | March 11, 2008 9:47 AM

...either that, or Hils has them in for some tea and sparkling conversation.

Or McCain just nukes them.

Posted by So many choices.... | March 11, 2008 9:50 AM

Jesus Christ, what Johnny said. If you hate our guts because of the decency we stand for, welcome. Gays, though, we already have enough of them. Please return to your murderous homeland.

This may be the most appalling and unfathomable thing I have heard of in the last few years.

Posted by brainy chola | March 11, 2008 9:53 AM

So, is there a petition we can sign or something?

Posted by hmm | March 11, 2008 9:54 AM

The best thing to do here is to openly support the Iraq war. Let Iran know that Iraq is merely a stepping stone and that we are coming for them next (as if they didn't detect this already). The evolved world doesn't put up with this type of persecution and no amount of half-asked political sanctions are going to fix their entrenched attitudes. The need to start treating people like people or be invaded and babysat until they learn to be nice. Like the South. Like Nazi Germany.

Posted by Citizen Gregg | March 11, 2008 9:54 AM

For what it's worth, here's a link to a petition:

Posted by Providence | March 11, 2008 9:57 AM

Petitions are worthless. If you don't live in Britain, you haven't got any leverage on this, alas. Media attention is about all we have.

The perplexing thing is trying to figure out just what on earth Gordon Brown is doing here. Who is he pandering to? Turning these people over benefits no one, nowhere, nohow. The Independent mentions "squalid priorities", but what are they? What are these "internal political concerns"? What can they possibly stand to gain by sending these people to their certain death?

Maybe it will finally bring down Labour. The Lib-Dems are are on the right side of this; where are the Tories?

Posted by Fnarf | March 11, 2008 10:04 AM

The perplexing thing is trying to figure out just what on earth Gordon Brown is doing here. Who is he pandering to?

He's pandering to the Muslims in his country, either out of a political calculation or fear of violence. Perhaps the Independent should just say that.

Posted by JMR | March 11, 2008 10:06 AM

Kazemi and Emambakhsh ARE Muslims.

Posted by Fnarf | March 11, 2008 10:16 AM

Oh my god. This makes me SO MAD. I can't believe the British government would do such a thing.

Posted by arduous | March 11, 2008 10:17 AM

Fucking English. Apparently, no one has any balls over there.

Posted by Hernandez | March 11, 2008 10:19 AM

What I wonder here is what are her options, given deportation? Can she make an attempt to get to a country that will not deport (I know the teenage boy went to the Netherlands, but they are considering sending him back to the UK)? Can she go on the run in Britain (maybe a ferry to N. Ireland and then into Ireland)? Can she just physically not get on the plane?

I guess I am just thinking, if it were me, what could I possibly do other than say, yep, guess I just head back to Iran to my own certain death.

Posted by Julie | March 11, 2008 10:22 AM

Kazemi and Emambakhsh ARE Muslims.

It doesn't appear that these two are acting in accord with Islam.

Posted by JMR | March 11, 2008 10:25 AM

Well, okay. The British murder queers. But they also ban plastic bags, a progressive congestion tax in London, and they've got an excellent public transportation system. And also, universal health care.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: those enlightened European countries we liberals love so much get that way by signing responsibility for international affairs over to the United States. They're rationally self-interested moral cowards, and they always have been.

Posted by Judah | March 11, 2008 10:28 AM

At least there's one crumb of humor in this very upsetting story - the URL of this post is truncated to "british government to execute iranian ho".

Posted by JMR | March 11, 2008 10:31 AM

I thought British law forbids extradition when capital punishment is a possibility? Weren't there protests when they tried to send a terrorism suspect to the U.S.? This only counts with British citizens, then?

Posted by the man who couldn't blog | March 11, 2008 10:33 AM

It doesn't appear that these two are acting in accord with Islam.

You know nothing about Islam.

Posted by Fnarf | March 11, 2008 10:33 AM

How interesting that the views of the Islamists mirror that of another who was recently in this paper. I sent the following message along with the link to the Independent story. This is the email address for Senator Sally Kern of Oklahoma, btw.

Senator Kern,

After listening to your speech and then reading this article, it seems that both you and the Islamists fear the same thing. Does this mean that you agree with Sharia law and would like it to be placed into effect in the United States of America?

Thank you

Posted by PJ | March 11, 2008 10:34 AM

You know nothing about Islam.

And, I guess, neither do the people running Iran.

Posted by JMR | March 11, 2008 10:38 AM

The British are very good at being two faced like that - decrying lack of freedoms in the press and then completely discounting that in their immigration policies. They've spent a decade decrying how murderous and evil the Mugabe regime is and yet routinely turn back plane loads of Zimbabweans fleeing the economic collapse brought on by sanctions imposed by the British. Much the same way that the American government doesn't want significant numbers of Iraqi refugees coming over here despite the collapse of Iraqi society brought on by the American mission to "free" them.

Fucking hypocrites...

Posted by Deeply Depressed | March 11, 2008 10:38 AM

So much for European enlightenment.

Posted by Chris | March 11, 2008 10:38 AM

Looks like there's another one to join her on the trip home.

Posted by SF | March 11, 2008 10:42 AM

And, I guess, neither do the people running Iran.
That's not the only flavor available, and it is rather unhelpful of people like you to keep insisting that it is.

Posted by Fnarf | March 11, 2008 10:51 AM

Dan Savage, you are the most pathetic pseudo-intellectual non-journalist I have ever stumbled across. Quoting out of context to excite your hoard of teenage bloggers. Bravo. You're worthless. I wish I could subscribe to Slog without having to look at anything you dribble.

Posted by paul | March 11, 2008 11:11 AM

I thought they didn't have any gays in Iran ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 11, 2008 11:23 AM

I thought British law forbids extradition when capital punishment is a possibility?

It's not British law, but the European Convention on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, which abolishes the death penalty. This clause has been interpreted by the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg (the body which enforces the convention) as forbidding the extradition of people by member states to states in which they face a serious risk of being executed. Given that the convention applies to every person on the territory of a signatory state, the Iranians can ultimately appeal to the court.

The "well, they can keep their heads down, can't they?"-argument falls pretty flat when the case attracts enough media coverage, I guess.

Posted by pbloemeke | March 11, 2008 11:32 AM

@18 I think you've got a point. I could never put my finger on why the French attitude bothered me so much, but your post hits it right home... They decry the United States for being back-asswards, and intolerant, ad naseum, and yet give almost no rights to recent LEGAL immigrants, especially if they are not white and middle class. And neo-Nazis floruish in supposedly democratic and progressive Germany. Interesting.

Posted by Marty | March 11, 2008 12:06 PM

Paul @ 28 what exactly are you talking about?

Posted by daniel | March 11, 2008 12:11 PM

I agree with Beguine @4. It's uncivilized to deport anyone who is not a criminal by the standards of criminality held in common by all nations. It's uncivilized to deport anyone to their death even if they are universally recognized as criminals. It's uncivilized to execute criminals, period.

Posted by Cascadian | March 11, 2008 12:24 PM

This is a terrible thing, but the world is a pretty terrible place.
Maybe if these two are executed, it will add more fire to those in Iran who want to overthrow their tyrannical theocracy. Like an addict, maybe Iran needs to hit rock bottom before its citizens start a revolution.

Posted by GS | March 11, 2008 2:39 PM

The Foreign Minister of Iceland went to Iran few days ago to gain support for Iceland in the upcoming elections for the Security Counsil at the UN ... I wonder what the price for the support of Iran is...hmmm... You could ask the Icelandic Prime Minister, Mr. Haarde on his arrival in NY in few days...his mission is to promote the Icelandic campaign..

Posted by Ice_wulf | March 11, 2008 4:44 PM

Citizen Gregg @ 9,

You are aware that the plight of gay men in Iraq has been CONSIDERABLY worse since our invasion of Iraq than it was previously, right?

Nice attempt at cheerleading the Iraq war through a completely unrelated topic but you misfired terribly with such an ignorant mistatement.

Posted by Zeke | March 11, 2008 8:55 PM

You have a better suggestion Zeke short of sitting around and waiting for somebody else to do something? Please let me know your definitive source of information regarding the treatment of homosexuals in Iraq over the last 40 years. I mean, with all the open homosexuality and free press going on during the dictatorship of Sadaam Hussein, it should be easy to compile hard data such as videos, written accounts and university studies.

And the Iraq war is absolutely related. You know, because their dictator - sorry, former dictator - and his goon squads were the ones wantonly killing anybody different. But even more so, because he didn't have the will of his people behind him which doesn't make for very strong nation-states. And Iran knows that. And Iran wanted to take advantage of that.

Posted by Citizen Gregg | March 12, 2008 8:28 AM

It is interesting that the British Government will not send a mass murder to their death but will send gays & lesbians back to a country the could possibly execute them.

Posted by txdude66 | March 13, 2008 6:38 PM

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