The Pink Triangle Trust

News Release – 30 June 2008


KENILWORTH, 30 JUNE 2008 — Britain’s only gay humanist charity has described as “outrageous” Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s assertion that gays are not at risk in Iran.

Ms Smith says in a letter to Lord Roberts of Llandudno that, while there are cases where “individuals are able to demonstrate a need for international protection”, there is not enough evidence to support a moratorium on deportations to Iran, where many gay men have been known to be hanged for their sexuality.

The letter, quoted in part in the UK’s Independent newspaper, is bound to cause anger among gay groups, who have long had the Iranian regime in their campaigning sights. They point to as many as 4,000 gays who have been executed since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Now the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) – set up in 1992 as an educational charity for humanists who are gay – has weighed in. In 2005, the Trust used its magazine, Gay and Lesbian Humanist, to draw attention to the hanging of two gay teenagers in Iran, and featured a front-page picture of the boys on the scaffold. Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were hanged for allegedly being rapists. But gay campaigners insist the teenagers were killed under sharia law for the “crime” of homosexuality.

“It’s truly outrageous that Jacqui Smith can utter such nonsense,” said the PTT’s secretary, George Broadhead.

Ms Smith’s letter said: “We do not ... accept that we should make the presumption that each and every asylum-seeker who presents themselves as being of a particular nationality or sexuality, regardless of their particular circumstances, should automatically be ... allowed to remain in the UK. ... With particular regard to Iran, current case law handed down by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal concludes that the evidence does not show a real risk of discovery of, or adverse action against, gay and lesbian people who are discreet about their sexual orientation.”

Mr Broadhead said that her claim that gays are safe in Iran is naive nonsense, and an outrageous thing to say. “It goes against all the evidence produced over many years of the brutal treatment of gays by this barbaric Islamic theocracy.”

And PTT trustee Dean Braithwaite added, “This is as nonsensical as Ms Smith telling a political dissident in Zimbabwe that they should just shut up and they’ll be all right, which, as far as I’m aware, isn’t British government policy.”

Further information from George Broadhead on 01926 858450.
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Created : Tuesday, 2008-07-08 / Last updated : Monday, 2008-10-20
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