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'Go home and lie', court tells lesbian Iranian
Photo: DPA

'Go home and lie', court tells lesbian Iranian

Published: 28 Jun 2012 11:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Jun 2012 11:28 GMT+02:00

A German court told a lesbian who had fled persecution in Iran, to go back and simply live discreetly and hide her sexuality. Iranian courts sentence lesbians to whippings and, in a fourth instance, death.

Samira Ghorbani Danesh fled Iran in 2009 and has been living in a women's shelter in northern Bavaria since.

She now has until the end of July to leave, Die Welt newspaper said on Thursday as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees refused the 24-year-old asylum.

Danesh is appealing the decision after being told by the Bayreuth administrative court that “she was unable to make the danger she would face in Iran believable” and that she should return and live a “reserved lifestyle like other Iranian homosexuals.”

Yet in Iran, gay women are punished with 100 lashes – and can face the death penalty if convicted a fourth time.

It is common for homosexuals to flee the country, Iranian activist Katayun Pirawardi told the paper. “Those who can, escape to somewhere.”

“The judge in Bayreuth had doubts about her story of being prosecuted,” a spokesman told Die Welt. This means that if her appeal is rejected again, Danesh have to return this summer.

“Why would I make something like that up and have to leave my friends and family?” said Danesh.

A qualified architect, Danesh fled to Germany after a party she was at with other gay friends was raided by the country's secret police.

She managed to escape and hide in a neighbouring flat, but many of the young people who were caught, were taken away. It was the last time she saw her then long-term girlfriend.

Despite her appeal being rejected, Danesh's lawyer has re-applied for asylum and is hopeful that the media attention the case is receiving will act in her favour as after being “outed” in the German press, living secretly in Iran would become considerably more difficult.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:31 June 28, 2012 by strixy
Yes, send a genuine victim home and import more terrorists instead so we can have another London bombing. Shame on you all.
13:55 June 28, 2012 by BR549
What's going on with German courts these days? We are getting some odd rulings here lately....
15:11 June 28, 2012 by BobbyBaxter
BR549 - Should we then let every lesbian/gay from every backward country have asylum in Germany? You have to draw the line somewhere otherwise everyone will be taking advantage. If that is the law in her native country then that is the law - it should not follow that Germany has a responsibility for her welfare.
15:34 June 28, 2012 by BR549
@ BobbyBaxter - Your point made and accepted.

My comment was made based on my belief they accepted her as a refugee and then changed their mind. I read the article again, and see this may not be the case.
15:40 June 28, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:55 June 28, 2012 by green idea factory
@BobbyBaxter, actually Germany does have a responsibility for her welfare. "Backward" is one thing, but did you notice in this article that she could be executed simply for who she is?

@SchwabHallRocks: Who is to say she doesn't want kids? Lots of lesbians have kids... and they are always intentional kids to boot (If you are a man, I assume she will not be asking you for a donation...)
16:11 June 28, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
I must admit that this Local.de is the funnest www site for blogging I've ever seen.

From holocaust deniers, to world-bank lovers/haters, to circumcision, to various types of asylum seekers... It's a real smorgasbord and more fun than the Sunday comics.

Obviously Germany cannot accept every asylum seeker... there are 1 BB chinese under totalitarian rule and probably another .5 BB arabs (Syrians, Lebanese, Algerians, Iranians, Egyptians probably again.) There simply is not enough living space for all of them in Germany.
16:20 June 28, 2012 by yhsanjay
Such cases must be decided on merits.Maybe she will be persecuted at home and her going back will be fraught with danger. Instead she can be allowed to remain with a valid and extended visa.
17:00 June 28, 2012 by Hillbask
Maybe she can go to France. They accept people from the Middle East and the Arab world there all the time. If getting asylum in a country like Germany was as easy as declaring you are gay, then half of China would be there. People in the US can claim discrimination for being gay. I visit Germany every year. While seemingly harsh to some, I have never observed a country with more common sense and more motivation to take care of it's own people than I have in Germany. When others understand their entire philosophy as a whole, it makes a lot of sense for the common good.
17:30 June 28, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
@hillbask -

I think you are fairly correct. Germany does tend to look out for Germany and their common good.

And, indeed, half of China would swarm in...
20:46 June 28, 2012 by realist1961
¦quot;The judge in Bayreuth had doubts about her story of being prosecuted,¦quot;

Perhaps the Judge also has his doubts on whether Hitler was a dictator.
22:43 June 28, 2012 by wood artist
@realist1961 Probably depends upon how old he is and where he was educated.

On a more general concept, the idea of asylum, pretty much commonly held around the world, is that the seeker would be in danger if they returned to their homeland for something that is not considered a crime.

Using that criteria, Germany would be reasonably obligated to accept her plea, since being Lesbian is not a crime in much of the world (actions aside, simply being homosexual usually isn't) and it is a given she would likely be prosecuted...and executed...if she returns. Seems like the court is pretty intolerant in this case...telling someone to lie to stay alive. Would that "legal concept" fly in Germany?

wa
23:19 June 28, 2012 by raandy
Iran is an Islamic Republic, there is no doubt that they have a zero tolerance for gays.

There are other EU countries more gay friendly than Germany, the Netherlands being #1 and Belgium #2, why wouldn't she make her case there.

There could be other factors here we are not aware of.
12:07 June 29, 2012 by Floriansamsel
Strixy - bravo, you put it in a nutshell.

If you look at the comments that follow yours, it's plain to see that many Germans are not willing to do something just in the name of humanity (neither would terrorists).

If we let this desperate woman stay here, this doesn't mean all the gays from all over the world will come, too. This is just one case and no greencard for gays to overrun Germany.

Perhaps, it would be really better to look for another country with less hypocrites.
16:50 June 29, 2012 by AlexR
Clearly there is something wrong with some of our courts rulings lately. How can she "go back and simply live discreetly and hide her sexuality" while her name is on every newspaper and news outlet? Do they think that the Iranian regime doesn't scan everything written about them on the Western media?

And another thing. According to the article she is a 'qualified architect'. What happened to the reports that the German authorities are desperate to fill hundreds of thousands empty jobs with qualified immigrants? I guess those 'hundreds of thousands empty jobs' were never actually real.
07:01 June 30, 2012 by storymuse
Bravo, AlexR. And honestly, some of our readers astonish me with their barely disguised bigotry. The court's ruling seems to be prejudice also, simply put. I am amazed that it would deny asylum to such a legitimate threat to this woman's life.
12:17 June 30, 2012 by blackboot11
This ruling probably has something to do with the fact that she is in Bavaria, the bastion of the catholic church in Deutschland. And according to this religion, as stated in previous thelocal.de articles, being gay against their principals. So why shold they care about anyone who is gay or even try to help them out?

This is truly a modern day saga of one dark age group (the catholic church) way of dealing with another dark age group's (Iran) ideals.

It is a full on shame that this woman is caught in the middle of thier bigotry and ignorance...
21:53 June 30, 2012 by yourkeau
I think, most commenters did not bother to read Vienna convention on refugees, which Germany has signed voluntarily and consciously.

"A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.."

This is a definition of refugee according to the convention. As being gay is subject for persecution in Iran, then every single gay which can escape to Europe, should automatically be granted asylum. You don't like it or not, but this is the law, and Germany should respect it.
17:17 July 2, 2012 by Solonge
Does this mean that if she is returned, and does face the lash...so will the German judge in Bayreuth? I think when a judge glibly makes a decision like this, they should have to share the punishment if they make a bad call...that would ensure a well thought out decision I expect....
14:24 July 7, 2012 by john880
"green idea factory" wrote:

"@BobbyBaxter, actually Germany does have a responsibility for her welfare. "Backward" is one thing, but did you notice in this article that she could be executed simply for who she is?"

Ofcourse Germany has responsibility for her welfare. Everybody takes care of themselves. Her welfare is not only important for herself but also for all of Europe as she is the biggest economical power.

I don't really understand who could "execute" her? Does your sentence bear a symbolic meaning? She is after all one of the strongest players in world politics and has some serial military capacity.

I hope se makes a wise decision on this issue.
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