22nd April 2010: Apprehending execution in her homeland, Kiana Firouz is campaigning against the Home Office's decision to refuse her asylum.
The 26-year-old gay actress from Iran is seeking residency in Britain, as she says her sexuality is considered illegal and immoral under Islamic law.
Her petition against the decision has been signed by over 880 persons. The campaign comes at a time when the Home Office is facing allegations of discriminating against lesbian and gay asylum seekers.
In its latest report, a leading UK charity for lesbian and gay asylum seekers had only recently underscored disproportionate levels of rejection for homosexual applicants.
The study was conducted by the `UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group’. After looking at the decisions of UK Border Agency at interview stage, the group found although refusal at this stage was high for all asylum applicants, it was much higher for lesbian and gay applicants.
The Home Office refused Kiana Firouz’s request for asylum earlier this month, but at the same time acknowledged her appeal was legitimate.
The punishment for lesbian sex is 100 lashes in Iran. If the act is repeated thrice times, and each time punishment is enforced, death sentence applies on the fourth occasion.
Firouz asserts this was her last chance. The actress says even if she were heterosexual, the movie she was acting in carried sexual scenes which, in itself, would be subject to death punishment if she returned to Iran.