Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hey UK, don't help Iran kill another lesbian!

Image from the movie Cul De Sac

Yep, you read that right, the United Kingdom is on the verge of handing 27 year old actress and lesbian activist Kiana Firouz over to Iran where she will likely face the death sentence.

Before we talk about why the UK is doing this, or why she'll be killed once back in Iran, lets learn about the woman who is Kiana Firouz. Kiana was born in Tehran, Iran in 1983; I haven't been able to find much about her early life, I can't tell you when she first knew she was a lesbian, and I can't offer much insight into her passions or dreams. What I do know is that she tirelessly strives for the equal rights and fair treatment of gays and lesbians at great personal risk. While still in Iran, Kiana was working on a documentary on the condition of gays and lesbians there, some of her materials fell into the hands of Iranian intelligence and agents began to follow her and intimidate her. Kiana left Tehran seeking refuge in the U.K. where she could continue her work and studies. While in the U.K. Kiana joined with the directors Ramin Goudarzi-Nejad and Mahshad Torkan to make the film Cul De Sac, a film based on the life of Kiana Firouz. Kiana initially spoke with Ramin Goudarzi-Nejad after he made "Have I Ever Happened?", a short film about an Iranian poet and lesbian in 2007.

Now, with Cul De Sac screening this month in London, Kiana faces imminent deportation back to Iran. Kiana has applied for asylum from the Home Office and been denied even though the Ministry acknowledged that her sexual orientation was punishable by death in Iran. She has appealed the decision, but her appeal was overturned by the judge and her last chance is to appeal the judges decision. Speaking of her role in the film and her likely deportation Kiana said “It was important for me to take part in the film. As an Iranian lesbian I think the film is the best way to show how difficult life is for lesbians in my country. This film, contains sex scenes that would be sufficient evidence for receiving a death sentence if I were sent back to Iran. Now, my only hope is to mobilize the international LGBT community.” Since this issue was brought to my attention, everything I've read about her struggle and uncertain future has left me simultaneously heartbroken and in deep admiration for her strength and courage, in a recent letter to a supporter Kiana wrote "It does not matter what is going to happen to me. It's all about freedom." and in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty she stated "The situation for homosexuals is not only terrifying and horrible in Iran, but also for those who have escaped to seek asylum in other free countries, mostly signatories of the Geneva Convention, and especially Turkey. It seems to me that fate still does not wish us a peaceful life. We are going to resist and we will take every possible action until the day the whole world hears our voices." I have a hard time imagining myself being so courageous were I staring at the noose.

So here's the deal, for the United Kingdom to deny her asylum is tantamount to carrying out her death sentence themselves, the prime minister himself might as well be tying the noose. So lets take advantage of the power of the internet, share this story with everyone you know, write your own blog about it, and above all sign the petition and write every member of Parliament, and the Home Office, as well as the relevant branches of the U.N. Flood them with paper and email, make sure that they can't go 15 minutes without hearing that the global community views the deportation of Kiana Firouz as both a violation of human rights and basic human decency.


Theresa May - Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality
Phone: 020 7219 5206

Phil Woolas - Minister of State for Borders and Immigration
Phone: 0161 624 4248

David Cameron - Prime Minister
Write: 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA