Hughes welcome Supreme Court ruling securing freedom from persecution for gay asylum seekers

by Stephen Tall on July 8, 2010

Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes has welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling that two gay men who said they faced persecution in their home countries of Cameron and Iran have the right to asylum in the UK.

I am delighted this ruling recognises the rights of gay asylum seekers, ensuring their freedom from persecution around the world.

“This plight is one that my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I have campaigned on for years. It is an issue that the Coalition Government is committed to addressing as we seek to restore Britain’s reputation around the world as a leader in the protection of human rights. I believe that today’s ruling will go some way to restoring that reputation.

“Other countries around the world must now follow the UK’s lead and recognise freedom of expression and freedom of sexuality for all people.”

This was an issue Simon has long campaigned on, asking questions in the Commons of the Prime Minister and the Home Office, as well as writing about the subject in 2008 in The Independent about a constituent who had fled Iran:

The Home Office claims that a gay person can return to Iran and avoid persecution by being “discreet”. All the advice is that in Iran, to be discreet means that you would have to deny your identity. The punishment for giving in to personal feelings might well be nothing less than torture or death. This is clearly a form of discrimination and a serious breach of his human rights. It must now be clear to the Home Office that it is wrong to send back gay and lesbian people to Iran (or any other country with similar laws and practice) where all the evidence shows they will be persecuted.

Less happy with the ruling (surprise, surprise) is that bastion of liberalness the Daily Express which managed to surpass even its own rock-bottom editorial standards today, running this execrable front page.

The Express’s editor Peter Hill was a member of the toothless Press Complaints Commission. He eventually resigned from the PCC following large damages the paper was forced to pay out for publishing a string of false stories about the family of Madeleine McCann.