Recently, the world-wide campaign to prevent the British Home Office from deporting Mahdi Kazemi, a 19 year old gay Iranian student whose visa had expired, back to certain death at the hands of Iranian authorities was met with success when Home Office officials bowed to activist pressure and granted a five year asylum visa. Mahdi had been revealed as gay when his boyfriend’s father discovered their email correspondence and turned his own son over to Iranian police to be tortured and executed. There could be little doubt that Mahdi would have suffered the same fate, had he been repatriated.
Fortunately, Mahdi was able to connect with a small but very dedicated organization called Gay Asylum UK and with internationally known gay rights activist Peter Tatchell. An internet and media campaign was quickly organized, including an on-line petition that garnered approximately 8,000 signatures from people all over the planet.