Sweden stops deporting gays to Iran

Sweden is to suspend all deportations of gay asylum seekers to Iran, following the recent executions of two 18-year old men, who some claim were killed for having had homosexual sex.

The Swedish Migration Board says no more gay Iranians will be deported until it has evaluated the situation of gay people in Iran.

“We will look into whether there have been changes to the situation of homosexuals in Iran,” Lars-Gunnar Lundh, deputy director-general of the board, told Swedish Radio.

The move was welcomed by gay rights group RFSL, although chairman Sören Andersson insisted it was not enough.

In a press statement, he argued that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) people from “any country where belonging to the group LGBT is forbidden” should be allowed to stay in Sweden.

He raised the case of Nigeria, where he said that three men were recently condemned to death for their homosexuality.

“I still wonder where the government stands on this,” said Andersson.

“The lack of political initiative in this question is shameful for Sweden.”

The question of why the two Iranian men were executed has been shrouded in confusion since pictures of their hangings were released.

Some accounts of the incident indicate that the two men were hanged simply for having consensual gay sex. But according to Human Rights Watch they were almost certainly executed for raping a thirteen-year old boy.

“The basis for believing that the boys were convicted of consensual sex is essentially a web of speculation,” said Scott Long, gay rights expert at HRW, in a statement last month.

The organisation nonetheless criticised the fact that Iran still executes people who commit crimes as juveniles – one of those executed was seventeen at the time of the crime.