A gay man who faces the death penalty in Iran has won asylum in the UK after protests prompted the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to reconsider his case.More background here.
Family and supporters of Mehdi Kazemi, now 20, welcomed the decision yesterday not to send him back to Iran where his boyfriend was arrested by the state police and executed for sodomy.
Mr Kazemi came to London to study in 2005, but in April 2006 discovered his gay partner had been arrested and named him as his boyfriend before his execution. Fearing he might suffer the same fate if he returned, Mr Kazemi decided to seek asylum in Britain. His claim was refused and he fled to the Netherlands where he also failed to win asylum before returning to Britain last month.
In an open letter to the British Government, Mr Kazemi told the Home Secretary: "I wish to inform the Secretary of State that I did not come to the UK to claim asylum. I came here to study and return to my country. But in the past few months my situation back home has changed. The Iranian authorities have found out that I am a homosexual and they are looking for me."
Yesterday, the UK Border Agency said it had decided to allow him asylum, granting him leave to remain for five years.