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Help Save the Life of Kiana Firouz

May 27, 2010

While recent events in Arizona have raised the profile of discussions about immigration in the U.S., other Western nations have their own problematic policies and implementations thereof. The UK is a prime example. Even while small steps to improve the situation are taken, such as ending the practice of detaining children in centres such as Yarl’s Wood and Oakington, many and plicies laws continue to make life difficult for immigrants. For the past few months, I’ve been complaining to pretty much everyone who knows me about the amount of paperwork I have to go through to get married to a UK citizen over here, but that’s just a bourgeoipeeve because in the end I know that I will be able to get through the process and stay with the person I love. And even if for some reason I couldn’t, I wouldn’t be killed.

Kiana Firouz may be killed because the Home Office has denied her application for asylum.

Two women kissing, still from the movie Cul de Sac

Kiana Firouz in Cul de Sac

27-year old Kiana Firouz left Iran when clips of her documentary work on the challenges faced by lesbians and gays in Iran were obtained by intelligence agents who then began to follow her around Tehran and harass her. In the UK, she has played a starring role in Cul de Sac, a film about lesbians in Iran which is based in part on her life story. According to Meredith Yayanos of Coilhouse Magazine:

ince the trailer was posted on YouTube in December 2009, Cul de Sac has attracted global media attention, with thousands of views. Apparently, some of those views included members of Ahmadinejad’s puppet media in Iran. They know who Firouz is and what she stands for. They may want her to come back to the country she was born in to answer for it.

Answering for it, since she took part in explicit sex scenes in Cul de Sac, is likely to mean torture and even death by hanging.

According to EveryOne, a group dedicated to international human rights:

She filed for asylum but her application was rejected by the Home Office even though the Ministry recognized her being persecuted for her sexual orientation and despite the fact that the Ministry is well aware that under Islamic law homosexuality is considered a heinous crime punishable by hanging and that gays and lesbians are enemies of Allah. In Iran, punishment for an adult consenting lesbian of healthy mind and is 100 whippings. If the act is repeated three times and punished each time, the death sentence is applied the fourth time (Art. 127, 129, 130).

Kiana filed for a court appeal following the Home Office’s decision to reject her application for asylum, but the judge overruled her appeal According to Kiana’s lawyer, the last remaining chance is to appeal the judge’s decision, but the risk of deportation is imminent.

If the new coalition government keeps its promise to stop deporting asylum seekers who face imprisonment, torture or death for their sexual orientation, people like Ms. Firouz would be less likely to have their applications denied, though of course that is still just a promise. (Also, the coalition has plans to cap non-EU immigration which will certainly cause problems for other immigrants.)

For now, please sign the petition to stop the deportation of Kiana Firouz. You can also send an email directly to British Home Office at public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

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One Comment
  1. Maria Guzman permalink*
    May 29, 2010 4:01 pm

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank you for writing this-it is a situation that I’ve been following since I heard the news. What stands out to me about the punishment in Iran reminds me of the countless suppressive tactics that are placed upon sexual orientation-through education, dress, media, etc. Your description of the attempts to change of traumatize homosexual behavior out of a person was disturbing-many of us cannot fathom the kind of treatment that you described in this passage:

    “the Ministry is well aware that under Islamic law homosexuality is considered a heinous crime punishable by hanging and that gays and lesbians are enemies of Allah. In Iran, punishment for an adult consenting lesbian of healthy mind and is 100 whippings. If the act is repeated three times and punished each time, the death sentence is applied the fourth time (Art. 127, 129, 130).”

    In the past, it was thought that psychological intervention could change sexual orientation-that was proven to be ineffective and traumatic, too:

    http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_changing.html

    Violence is certainly not the answer, and it’s been made clear that she has been cited as a lesbian and that at this point, even if she were to attempt to hide it, she would not avoid persecution.

    I found the Facebook page with additional options for action: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=127222147291446&v=info

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