Aug 23, 2007
Editorial: Open Letter to UK Home Office on Behalf of Pegah Emambakhsh
As many of us have been alarmed by the news of a Lesbian refugee to be deported to Iran by UK authorities, sending a letter of protest is the least each of us can do to prevent this atrocity being commited by a democratically elected government. Prominent human rights campaigners such as Michael Petrelis and Peter Tatchell have been working along with Gay organizations (IRQO, GALHA and EveryOne) to stop the deportation, writing letters and pressuring the UK to drop the plans of sending Pegah to Iran. Please take a moment and send a fax of protest to the UK Home Office Secretary Jacqui Smith, like I and others have done. Contrary to popular belief, protest letters are very well effective if addressed to the person in charge in sufficient numbers. Below the text of my letter which hopefully inspires you to write one as well.
August 23, 2007
The Right Honorable Jacqui Smith MP
Fax: + 44 207 035 3262
Home Office reference number: B1191057
Dear Madame Secretary Smith:
I write today to beg you to grant Pegah Emambakhsh an immediate stay of deportation, allow her to remain in the UK, and permit her attorneys to submit new evidence regarding her request for asylum.
Because of her being a Lesbian, she faces stoning to death, if returned to her country of origin. Ms. Emambakhsh belongs to a group of people – Gays and Lesbians – who, it is well known, are severely persecuted in Iran.
The UK Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) will be committing a serious miscarriage of justice and a gross human rights violation if they proceed with Ms Emambhaksh’s deportation. Please issue an immediate stay of deportation for her, so that her new solicitors can provide the Home Office with fresh evidence and testimony from expert witnesses.
The UNHCR has recommended authorities to grant asylum to people persecuted because of their sexual orientation. United Kingdom is a signatory party to the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951), and we expect that the Government of the United Kingdom will take its obligations seriously.
Dr. Viktor Zimmermann
Gay Homeland Foundation