NETHERLANDS. IRANIAN GAYS CAN STAY - FOR THE TIME BEING
April 13, 2006: the Netherlands Parliament has rebuffed a call by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to end a moratorium on the deportation of gay asylum seekers from Iran.
Last year Verdonk halted extraditions of gays to Iran in the wake of reports two gay teens were hanged after being found found "guilty of homosexuality".Â
But in January, in a letter to lawmakers, she said that while gay sex was punishable by death under Islamic law an investigation into the hangings had determined that the pair were hanged not because they were gay but because they had robbed, kidnapped and raped a minor.
Although Iran maintained robbery and rape were behind the executions all along many international human rights organizations believed it to be "a smokescreen".Â Other groups that monitor Iran said the government explanation was most likely correct.
Verdonk's position was opposed by a wide variety of politicians in Parliament and by Dutch LGBT rights group COC. Without the support of Parliament she said that she would continue to grant asylum to gay Iranians but would "reassess" the situation in the fall.
That has raised concerns by COC.
"But what is going to happen in six months? Some of them face death sentences and are left in great uncertainty over their future," said COC chair Frank van Dalen.
He called on Verdonk to meet with gay Iranians who are living in the Netherlands so she can hear firsthand what it is like in the Islamic Republic. (Sources: 365Gay.com, 13/04/2006)