March 16, 2006


Iran_noose_12 Medhi is a 26-year-old gay Iranian who fled Iran to escape persecution. While doing his military service, Mehdi was discovered having sex with another soldier. After being smuggled from Iran into Turkey by donkey, he eventually made his way to England, where his application for asylum as a sexual refugee from Iran's lethal anti-gay pogrom was denied, and is now facing deportation proceedings on March 28. If he is deported, Mehdi is under explicit threat of arrest and probable execution in Iran.

Within the last year, two gay Iranians in the U.K. have committed suicide as they faced deportation back to Iran, in fear of unspeakable torture and likely execution. And there are a number of other gay Iranians currently in the U.K. whose asylum appeals have been denied by the Blair government, and who are living in fear of receiving deportation orders any day.

Mehdi has told his story to the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO) -- thePglo_logo_6  largest Iranian gay group, which has secretariats in a number of countries, including Turkey. Mehdi's story is a heart-breaking one -- he relates the difficulties of growing up gay in Iran; his rejection by his family, which broke up his amorous relationship with a neighbor's son; his pursuit by government security agents; and his long and arduous journey to the West. Now, Mehdi says, "If I was to return to Iran, straight away they would arrest me, it is obvious that I would be executed because under Islamic law I have committed a sin...When [government security agents] came to my father's house [to look for me] they told him that is what I have done and that this would be my punishment." You can read Mehdi's first-hand story on the PGLO's website by clicking here. 

RELATED READING: See my article in Gay City News, out today, on the lessons for the gay movement in the March 8 government assault in Tehran on feminists who were demonstrating for women's rights on International Women's Day. You can read my GCN article by clicking here. ....And for a round-up article summarizing Iran's lethal anti-gay pogrom, see my recent article in the magazine In These Times......In connection with this coming Saturday's student Iran Freedom Concerts initiated by Harvard students (with other concerts at a half-dozen universities across the country), there's an opinion piece in today's Harvard Crimson by two students entitled "Support Reformers in Iran."....

Posted by Direland at 03:16 PM | Permalink


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No one in this world should have to face death because for being gay. It should be againist the law to off all free nations to deport people who had to leave. Its time we all stand together and work together to stop all needless deaths and suffering that have to occur because someone is gay.

Posted by: David M Handy | Sep 29, 2006 10:39:18 PM

Reply to John,
Anyone wishing to help Mehdi, and other gay Iranian refugees in various countries around the world, should contact the human rights commission of the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization at [email protected].

Posted by: Doug Ireland | Mar 16, 2006 9:28:56 PM

I speak for many when I say, "Thank you Doug Ireland for your informative posts".
Also these words by The Homo are most telling and perhaps we could also add the word sadistic to his statement? "...Religious fundamentalism is on the rise worldwide as the simple, simplistic solution to ever more complex issues; and it seems wherever it gains in power, gays are among the first to find themselves on the chopping block."
Nelson blaine

Posted by: Nelson blaine | Mar 16, 2006 8:26:20 PM

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