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Iranian gay refugee fears for life as Sweden rejects asylum claim

Iranian gay refugee fears for life as Sweden rejects asylum claim

10/07/2019 12:42

Sweden has rejected the asylum claim for a gay teenager from Iran. Now, the 19-year old Mehdi fears that he will have to leave his boyfriend behind and face the risk of being executed in Iran.

Mehdi Shokr Khoda had to sign a document which states that he is required to leave the country within three weeks. If he didn’t, he could be deported at any given time. The Swedish government rejected his application due to ‘’lack of new evidence’’ and has also said that the international media coverage surrounding the teenager is unlikely to be read in Iran. One of the reasons why his asylum claim got rejected, is because he was unable to ‘’describe the typical steps one goes through when realizing that they are gay’’.

Mehdi followed his transgender sister (who already fled Iran years before) to Stockholm in 2017. Because her asylum claim was approved, Mehdi hoped for the same result. According to him, their parents are unaware of their children’s sexuality and gender identity.

While in Sweden, he met the 23-year old Carlo Rapisarda. They have been together for about 18 months. Late last year, the Swedish Migration Board rejected his request due to the suspicion that the teenager was lying about his relationship and the dire circumstances in Iran. Carlo testified for their relationship, but this apparently was not enough: ‘’They want evidence. We live together, we love each other, we’ve known each other a long time. Isn’t that evidence enough?’’

Even though the Swedish government sees no direct threat in deporting Mehdi back to Iran, he begs to differ: ‘’Officers will absolutely figure it out. They’ll ask questions. If they find out I’m Christian or I’m gay or I tried to seek asylum, they will not understand that. They will execute me.’’ Thanks to the money raised with their Go Fund Me page, the young couple is hopeful that their lawyers will be able to win them an appeal.

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