Sweden to deport gay Iranian refugee

Says no persecution in homeland if discreet

Anthony Cuesta | October 02, 2006

STOCKHOLM — A gay Iranian man is to be deported from Sweden back to his homeland, a migration court in Stockholm decided on Friday.

According to Sweden�s The Local, gay rights group RFSL has condemned the decision, saying that the man could be executed on his return.

"They're choosing to send people back and just hope that things go well, and that they're not executed," said RFSL's chairman S�ren Andersson to The Local.

The Iranian man had appealed a decision from the Swedish Board of Migration to deport him. According to The Local, he told the court that he had been harassed, assaulted and imprisoned because of his sexual orientation. He also said that he had been arrested by Iranian police and raped at the police station.

But the court said that the man faced no concrete and individual risk if he were to return to Iran, reports The Local.

The court referred to a 2005 report from the Swedish foreign ministry, which said that Islamic law as applied in Iran prescribed "terrible penalties" for homosexual acts. Men who are found to have had penetrative sex can face the death penalty.

But the report also said that most gay people in Iran managed to avoid danger by living "discrete and withdrawn" lives.

According to SR International – Radio Sweden, the deportation ends the freeze which went into effect after the public hangings of two teen-age gays in Iran over a year ago.

Radio Sweden reports that Swedish migration authorities say they are basing their decision on reports from the Swedish Embassy in Teheran which claim that homosexuals risk no dangers there – as long as they are discrete.

Andersson told The Local that it was unreasonable for Sweden to demand that gay people live "hidden lives."

"We are very critical of the Foreign Ministry's reporting," he said to The Local.

The Iranian man�s legal representative, Lars Lundin, told The Local he would probably appeal Friday's ruling.

"This case is of great interest on a point of principle, ad the new migration courts lack a body of precedents," he said to The Local. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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