Britain… a land of hope and glory?

Robert Verkaik, Legal Editor of The Independent, reported yesterday that “A gay teenager who claims he faces the death penalty in Iran after his boyfriend was executed there two years ago has spoken of his anger and disappointment at losing his legal battle against deportation.”

Today, Verkaik reports that “More than 60 peers have signed a letter to the Home Secretary urging the Government to halt the deportation of a gay Iranian teenager who faces execution if he is returned to his homeland.”

The Independent article stated:

“Among those pressing the Government to help Mr Kazemi are Lord Woolf, the former lord chief justice; Betty Boothroyd, the former speaker of the House of Commons; and Shirley Williams, Julia Neuberger, Paddy Ashdown, David Steel, Lord Lester QC and the Bishop of Liverpool, as well as a number of senior Labour peers. In the letter, the peers say: “We members of the House of Lords are deeply concerned at the possible execution of Mehdi Kazemi if he is refused asylum in the UK and is deported to Iran. His former partner has been executed there. We urge Her Majesty’s Government to show compassion and allow Mr Kazemi to have a safe haven in the UK.”

Mehdi Kazemi sought asylum in Holland. The Dutch courts are sending him back to Britain within 72 hours. The Iranian Police have a warrant for his arrest (who has lived in Britain for 31 years, according to The Independent). The Iranians hang homosexuals. Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend was executed.

Kazemi sought sanctuary in Britain. Whatever the technicalities of this case are, surely we can live up to the rousing anthem “Land of Hope and Glory” by giving this young man hope and give ourselves, as a nation, a bit of glory for showing compassion?

The Home Office, according to The Independent, has promised to review the case.

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