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August 24, 2007

Pegah Emambakhsh

Is this actually necessary?

No, not the quick campaign to get everyone faxing Jacqui Smith, of course that's necessary. They're going to deport Ms. Emambakhsh to Iran on the Bank Holiday. Yes, a rug-muncher gets sent to the land where they kill people for being rug-munchers, courtesy of the people who brought us the Human Rights Act.

So go to Dan's to get the details, do the right thing and all that.

No, my question is slightly different. Is it actually necessary that we're ruled by fuckwits?

Can't they actually see that sending someone who is partial to having sex with women (as I will admit I myself am) to a country where they execute people for being partial to having sex with women doesn't fit into any reasonable version of civilized behaviour yet devised?

And if they cannot recognize that, why are they there and what are they for?

You might find Dan's talking points to be of more use in any fax than mine are. Apologies, this sort of idiocy just makes me angry.

August 24, 2007 in Law | Permalink


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If Pink News has it right (it's just that I don't see any other source yet), Italy has agreed to grant her asylum. That's a relief.

Posted by: Ophelia Benson | Aug 24, 2007 11:50:35 PM

It's also a national disgrace.

Posted by: Peter Risdon | Aug 25, 2007 1:41:28 AM

Why is it a national disgrace? She had her hearing, she lost. Our system is working.

"Several EU countries, notably the Netherlands and Germany, have declared a moratorium on deporting gay people back to Iran"

So, why fly to the UK, then, if we don't have a moratorium?

Posted by: JuliaM | Aug 25, 2007 7:37:45 AM

Because the system is always right, Julia? All that matters is that we have a system, not whether it makes rational decisions.

It's sad how "working" has come to mean "functioning". We are told that the EU-ETS is "working", even though it didn't deliver a tonne of carbon saving in Phase 1, because people are able to trade, even though what they are trading is worthless. Now Julia tells us that this system is "working" because it has reached a decision. To bureaucracy-lovers, it doesn't matter whether the bureaucracy delivers the right result, all that matters is that it exists.

Posted by: bgp | Aug 25, 2007 9:32:24 AM

I'm hardly a 'bureaucracy-lover', but in this case, there seems no doubt that the case has been argued, and there are no technical grounds for allowing her to stay. If there were grounds, her lawyers would no doubt be arguing them, rather than leaving it to the professional grievance-mongers like Tatchell to mount a campaign.

It has simply reached a decision you don't agree with. Hardly a basis for urging that we throw out the rule book.

And, again, why the UK? What about the countries she flew over to get here, some of which, it has been pointed out, are more lenient on this matter.

Posted by: JuliaM | Aug 25, 2007 10:41:09 AM

I don't know why Ms Emambaksh chose to come to the UK. Perhaps she wasn't familiar with the fine detail of different European countries' interpretations of human rights (the relevant legal texts may not be widely available in Iran, what do you reckon?) and was relying on the reputation for fairness, tolerance and defence of the vulnerable, for which Britain used to be known. More fool her, huh?

Your case still seems to rest on the fact that she's had a hearing and that the decision was consistent with the rules. There were plenty of people sent to the gulags on the same basis. It's whether the rules are just that counts, not whether they've been applied. Failure to recognize that does indeed, I'm afraid, mark you down as a bureaucracy-lover.

Posted by: bgp | Aug 26, 2007 1:23:58 PM

"Perhaps she wasn't familiar with the fine detail of different European countries' interpretations of human rights..."

Given she's a gay rights campaigner, and aligned with the likes of Tatchell, I doubt it. Are you really saying that because she's from a backward country, she must necessarily be dumb...? How...unenlightened of you.

"Your case still seems to rest on the fact that she's had a hearing and that the decision was consistent with the rules."

Well, if we want the rule of law in this country, that's all it need rest on.

Don't like the rules..? Campaign to change them. Don't start crying for special treatment for selected 'victims'...

Posted by: JuliaM | Aug 26, 2007 6:22:17 PM

I don't know about you, Julia, but I'd like the rule of just law, not just the rule of law. Every dictator in history has relied on the rule of law - your standards need to be a bit higher than that.

I take it you also share Neil Clark's view on the Iraqi translators? After all, it would be entirely consistent with our rules to leave them there to rot.

It's interesting that in your world, not being fully-informed equates to being dumb. That's your equation, not mine.

As for campaigning and special treatment, I thought what Tatchell and others were asking for was a reassessment of the rules, not special treatment, but it's a fine line, I'll grant you. Kind of hard to campaign for a change in the rules without reference to personal impact, and hard to campaign for a particular person without considering the rules that have affected them.

Posted by: bruno | Aug 27, 2007 5:09:08 PM

"I take it you also share Neil Clark's view on the Iraqi translators?"

You are taking it incorrectly then. And it would NOT be 'within our rules to leave them there' - we owe them a debt, they worked for us.

"It's interesting that in your world, not being fully-informed equates to being dumb."

I didn't say that - read it again.

Posted by: JuliaM | Aug 27, 2007 5:45:31 PM

There may not be legal grounds to let her stay, yet there always are political (i.e. based on will) grounds. One should always pursue justice.

And then, there may not be legal grounds to let her stay, but surely there are no legal grounds to deport her to Iran either, as the Convention on Refugees explicitly forbids to return failed asylum seekers to the country of origin.

Posted by: passer_by | Aug 28, 2007 1:03:30 PM

Given she's a gay rights campaigner, and aligned with the likes of Tatchell, I doubt it.

Oh, she knows now, no mistake. The question put to you, though, was did she know when she arrived on our welcoming shores?

And it would NOT be 'within our rules to leave them there'

What rules? Unless you've just arrived from Jupiter, you should know the issue is that our government is maintaining it is not obliged under point of law.

we owe them a debt, they worked for us.

We owe lots of people debts. We owe, as Tim Worstall said, cat-flap pushers a debt through human kindness not to forcibly return them to countries where they kill cat-flap pushers.

What we don't owe a debt to is for people whom voluntarily worked for us, and appropriate generous renumeration. Would you offer residence to all British embassy workers?

U-n-n-n-n-n-n-less they are at risk of gang-murder specifically because they worked for us in civilian roles (maybe even non-civilian). So why the different priorities when it's a cat-flap pusher who didn't provide a practical service and is merely under serious risk?

I mean, it's not that you only see people in terms of what use they can be of?

Posted by: Melancholy Man | Aug 29, 2007 10:24:29 AM

The case of Pegah Emambakhsh and the new frontiers of Human Rights

by Roberto Malini – EveryOne Group

The widespread international campaign to save Pegah Emambakhsh’s life,

which has involved governmental institutions, human rights organizations,

GLBT activist groups, intellectuals, experts in international law and millions

of people who have come to love Pegah, has succeeded in achieving a

positive outcome. Pegah is now serene, she is being assisted by a top legal

office, by the “Friends of Pegah Campaign” association (which the EveryOne

Group is proud to be part of) and has obtained the guarantee that her case will

undergo an objective reassessment. The meeting between the lawyers and

the magistrate was extremely positive and satisfactory.

Pegah’s face and her moving story has travelled the world and brought about

a new priority: to work all together to ensure that the international law that protects

refugees and guarantees asylum to those who are persecuted in their home country

is recognised by government and legal institutions, and then adhered to. There are

declarations, conventions, documents, appendages, international and local agreements

that regulate this delicate subject-matter, but the essential rule is very simple and all the

civilized countries have signed it: “If, due to discrimination, a human being risks in his own

country becoming the victim of physical or psychological ill-treatment, limitation of the

freedom of opinion and expression, torture, imprisonment, capital punishment,

he must be protected by the country he has taken refuge in, not be detained in prison

and in the shortest time possible granted political asylum”.

So simple, so difficult for those who don’t want to see. Another law that exists,

but not as well-known to governments is the following: “Any country that is able to grant freedom

and a dignified life to a refugee, must be able to offer that asylum in the event of the refugee

being turned down by the first country he or she has applied to.” The legal material on

Refugee Status and a Right to Asylum contains thousands of pages, yet it would be so simple

just to apply at least these two main principles.

There would be so much less injustice, and so fewer victims!

It is now time to reflect and remain calm. Pegah’s case could become

a symbol and help all governments to shed light on this delicate priority which is

so essential for the safeguarding of human rights. The horrors of history, genocides

and holocausts emerge slowly and develop when indifference reigns or when human

rights are forgotten or ignored by the authorities. We are all watchdogs of the

respect for human rights and each and every one of us – as Mark Twain wrote – is a patriot

and represents his own country when it fights for the observance of what one believes is right,

even if he is the last person to see where Truth and Justice lie.

If we defend the weak and help our governments not to lose the way of human rights, then we

will be patriots, we will be – with pride – representatives of our country and no one,

not even kings, not even presidents, can impose ideas on us that are far from Truth and Justice.

Let us now be watchful over the developments in Pegah’s case, but with faith and serenity,

because legality and truth have been restored.

A relaxed atmosphere will help Pegah’s lawyers and the magistrates carry out their work

with conscience. We are sure to receive some good news shortly.

The case of the Iranian woman, whose life and happiness we have taken to heart, will

help us to ensure similar cases in Germany, Holland, Japan, Italy and other countries

are also treated with justice, according to the human rights laws.

The EveryOne Group will remain in contact with Pegah’s representatives, with the

“Friends of Pegah Campaign” association, and contribute to maintaining a calm and constructive

climate, supplying information and updating when there is any news. In the meantime,

we are already working on other cases that concern the rights of the weakest.

Contact us, support us, work alongside us.

We live in a tormented world, where those who are poor, or different, those who suffer

are turned away, tortured, eliminated. We are sure that each and every one of you

will want to contribute towards changing things.

EveryOne Group, Founding Members:

Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Ahmad Rafat, Arsham

Parsi, Steed Gamero, Glenys Robinson, Fabio Patronelli.

Posted by: Roberto Malini | Aug 31, 2007 12:58:30 AM

A message from Pegah Emambakhsh to all the groups and people who
are helping her.

Thanks to a wonderful person, an Iranian woman who lives in Italy and who
has been working for many years in the field of human rights, a friend we are
proud to have among the members of the EveryOne Group, we are in almost
daily contact with Pegah who is imprisoned in Yarl’s Wood prison. Today,
September 8th, 2007, Pegah has sent through this mutual friend a message for
all the groups, activists, politicians and everyday people who are trying to
solve her case.

”Dear friends,
as you well know, I am having a difficult time right now, with no assurances
for the future and with a lot of pain in my soul. I cannot deny that I am still
very frightened, and the separation from my beloved children hurts so much
that at times it seems unbearable. You don’t know how much of a comfort it is
to me to know that you are out there. You don’t even know me, yet you are working
for my cause, sticking your necks out and fighting for me, you write to me and
send me wonderful flowers. I wasn’t expecting anything like this. Even many
of the Iranians I was in contact with here in the United Kingdom abandoned me
when they found out the reason I had applied for asylum. I haven’t heard from
them since, they don’t want anything to do with me.
I never imagined there were groups like you around. I hope the future offers me
the opportunity to meet each and every person who has shown me so much friendship.
I am feeling much calmer, I am happy to have all this protection, all this love that instils in me
new energy and a desire to go on living. My dear friends, I am taking good care of the
flowers you sent me. I am so proud of them! They have aroused a bit of jealousy
in the other women here at Yarl’s Wood. I read the letters and postcards you have sent
me over and over again. I have had a lot of time to think about what is happening to me and,
in spite of not feeling ready to speak in public yet, once I get out of here I want to do something
for humanity. Many thanks to you all. Pegah Emambakhsh".

Everyone Group - Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Ahmad Rafat, Steed Gamero,
Fabio Patronelli, Arsham Parsi, Glenys Robinson, Salvatore Conte - roberto.malini@annesdoor.com

Posted by: Roberto Malini | Sep 8, 2007 7:32:41 PM

Considering how Iran is one of the most backward, repressive countries on the planet, it was extremely brave of Emambakhsh and her partner to not conform to Iran's insane social mandates. It's a shame that her partner was captured but it's also a shame that the first hearing for her asylum in the U.K. did not take her pleas seriously. How could a British court not understand that any LGBT person's life is truly in danger in Iran?
Patty Hose

Posted by: Patty Hose | Sep 13, 2007 2:58:29 AM

Does anyone know what is the outcome of this story?

Please inform

thank you

Posted by: Maria | Oct 19, 2008 4:19:18 PM