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Gay Iranian Woman Gets ‘Eleventh-Hour Stay’ On UK Deportation Order




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■  Pegah Emambakhsh, the Iranian lesbian who faces deportation from the United Kingdom.
photo courtesy
Asylum Seeker Support Initiative,  Sheffield

LONDON, August 16, 2007  –  A gay Iranian woman came within minutes of being put onto a non-stop flight to Tehran at Heathrow this evening as the UK Government’s Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) – part of the Home Office – went through the final process of deportation.

It was only the late intervention of the office of Sheffield Central Member of Parliament Richard Caborn – the Minister of Sport – that prevented the deportation today.

However, the deportation is only “on hold” until August 27, a spokesperson at Asylum Seeker Support Initiative in Sheffield told UK Gay News this evening.

Pegah Emambakhsh arrived in the UK in 2005 and sought asylum, having fled Iran after her same-sex partner was arrested and subsequently tortured and sentenced to death by stoning.  Her father was also arrested and interrogated about her whereabouts – he was eventually released, but not before he had been tortured himself.

The claim for asylum was rejected by the BIA, despite her appeals.  Ms. Emambakhsh was finally arrested in Sheffield last Monday and was taken on Wednesday to Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Clapham, Bedfordshire.

If returned to Iran, Ms. Emambakhsh faces certain imprisonment and possible execution by stoning.  Her ‘crime’ – she was in a lesbian relationship.

“The BIA have chosen not to believe that she is in such danger if returned to Iran, even though the UK government are well aware of the terrible situation that gay people face there,” the Asylum Seeker Support Initiative said in a statement issued early this morning.

“The BIA will be committing a serious miscarriage of justice and human rights violation if they insist on Ms Emambhaksh’s deportation,” the group pointed out.

As is the normal practice, the Home Office does not comment on individual cases.

■  Unconfirmed reports today from Tehran (via the "Save Delera" website in the USA) suggest that two Iranian teenagers who were sentenced to death after being found guilty of sexual abuse have had the sentences changed to 10 years imprisonment.  It is believed that the alleged sexual abuse was of a 12-years-old boy.  The accused are aged 16 and 17.


ranian Lesbian Freed on Bail From UK Detention at Yarl’s Wood.  Pegah Emambakhsh, the 40-years-old Iranian lesbian who fled to the UK in 2005 seeking asylum, has been freed “on bail” from the Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire.  (UK Gay News, September 12, 2007)

Pink Panthers in Paris Support Iranian Lesbian Facing Deportation from UK.  The Panthères Roses of Paris (Pink Panthers) have weighed-in with support for Pegah Emambackhsh, the Iranian lesbian who is facing deportation from the UK back to Iran.  (UK Gay News, August 28, 2007)

International Gay Human Rights Group “Troubled” At Planned Deportation of Iranian Lesbian From UK.  A leading American gay and lesbian human rights group has joined the world-wide campaign to stop the deportation by the British Government of Pegah Emambakhsh, the 40-years-old Iranian lesbian back to her home country.  (UK Gay News, August 28, 2007)

 Lesbian Iranian Asylum Seeker: British Govt. Dithers Over Possible Deportation, Italy Acts.  Gay News ran the headline “Ashamed To Be British” on an article about how a gay Algerian was treated over an asylum application.  Two years on, nothing has changed when it comes to the case of Pegah Emambakhsh, the 40-years-old gay Iranian woman who is languishing in Yarls Wood Detention Centre near Bedford facing deportation – and who knows what when she arrives in Tehran.  But its a different story in Italy.  (UK Gay News, August 26, 2007)

Gays Worldwide Rally to Aid Iranian Lesbian Facing Deportation from UK A last-ditch attempt to stop the deportation early next week to Tehran of a 40-years-old lesbian has been mounted by her supporters in Sheffield.  But already activists around the world are campaigning against the deportation.  (UK Gay News, August 23, 2007)


“All This Torture Just For Being a Lesbian” An interview with an Iranian lesbian who fled to Europe: "I am a lesbian.  For this reason I was arrested countless times.  I went to prison and ultimately sentenced to death [by hanging].  I remember the first time I was arrested; I was 21 and a student in Esfahan."  (UK Gay News, June 26, 2007)




Posted: 16 August 2007 at 21:00 (UK time)


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