Thursday, August 23, 2007

Save Pegah Emambakhsh

In a week when we've seen just how disgracefully certain so-called human rights organisations can behave, Peter Tatchell's OutRage! reminds us just how important grassroots human rights slog is to real people whose lives are at risk.
This blog is by no means an uncritical fan of The Tatch (he got it badly wrong with the SORs and his membership of The Green Party remains perplexing to me) but on the whole, he's a decent egg and Outrage! does what it says on the tin, without arrogance or dissembling.
Here's an appeal this blog does support (Hat tip to Simon Forbes and Brett Lock). So get your fingers out and get writing to the relevant people.

Save Pegah - Write now!URGENT ACTION - Pegah Emambakhsh solidarity and support campaign

From Peter Tatchell and OutRage!

Pegah is an Iranian lesbian asylum seeker who is facing deportation from the UK on 27 August 2007. She is at risk of arrest, imprisonment, torture, lashings and/or possible execution if she is returned to Tehran. A briefing on Pegah's case follows at the end of this email.Please write or email asap the British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and to Pegah's British constituency MP, Richard Caborn (see details below), outlining your concerns and indicating your support for Pegah.Pegah's Home Office reference number is: B1191057This number must be quoted in any letter, so the Home Office can identify and access her case.Campaign letters for PegahSend a hard copy letter by first class post to arrive by Friday 24 August:1. Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP, Home Secretary, 2, Marsham St, London SW1P 4DFOr by fax if too late to post a letter: Fax no: + 44 (0) 207 035 3262 or +44 (0) 207 035 2362In either case the letter (envelope or fax) should be clearly marked for 'The personal attention of ..'Email: smithjj@parliament. uk and /or homesecretary. submissions@ homeoffice. gsi.gov.uk2. Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP,Sheffield Constituency Office2nd FloorBarkers Pool HouseBurgess StreetSheffield S1 2HF

Background Briefing - With the help of the UK asylum support network, Assist
Pegah Emambakhsh is an Iranian national who sought asylum in the UK in 2005. Her claim failed despite appeals and she was arrested in Sheffield on Monday 13th August 2007. She faces deportation to Iran on 27 August 2007. If returned to Iran, she faces certain imprisonment, likely severe lashings and possibly even stoning to death. Her crime in Iran is her sexual orientation - she was in a same-sex relationship. Ms Emambakhsh escaped from Iran, claiming asylum, after her lover wasarrested, tortured and subsequently sentenced to death by stoning. Her father was also arrested and interrogated about her whereabouts. He was eventually released but not before he had been tortured himself. Ms Emambakhsh has a more than well founded fear of persecution if she is returned to Iran. She belongs to a group of people - gays and lesbians - who, it is well known, are severely persecuted in Iran. According to Iranian human rights campaigners, many lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs came to power in 1979. In 2006 a German court ruled that an Iranian lesbian could not be deported as she risked death because of her sexuality. The UK Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) have chosen not to believe that she is in danger if returned to Iran, even though the UK government are well aware of the terrible situation that gay people face there.The BIA will be committing a serious miscarriage of justice and a gross human rights violation if they insist on Ms Emambhaksh's deportation. We are now getting Pegah new solicitors in order to make a fresh claim for asylum based on new evidence and expert testimonies. We need a stay of deportation to give Pegah time to prepare and submit this fresh claim.
For further information please contact:Lesley Boulton - 077 3302 1087orMargaret or Robert Spooner0114 258 5715Asylum Seeker Support Initiative - Short TermC/o Victoria Hall Methodist Church60 Norfolk Street , SHEFFIELD, S1 2JBCharity Registration no. 1100894E-mail address admin@assistsheffie ld.org.ukWeb Site www.assistsheffield .org.ukTelephone & fax 0114 275 4960ENDS

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