In NZ, gay Iranian gets asylum; Catholic does not

In NZ, gay Iranian gets asylum; Catholic does not

Speaking of double standards, New Zealand has denied political asylum to a Catholic Iranian, while a gay Iranian was approved.

Ahmad Tahooni is gay, but when he arrived in New Zealand in 2000 he sought asylum on the grounds that he had been involved in student demonstrations in Iran and could face persecution if he returned.

The Refugee Status Appeals Authority denied him asylum and rejected a subsequent appeal after he admitted he had lied about his political activities.

In his second appeal Mr Tahooni, 39, said he was gay and feared returning to Iran, where homosexual activity is punishable by death. In December the authority found in his favour.

Thomas Yadegary, also Iranian, moved to NZ in 1994 and converted to Catholicism. He was arrested in November 2004 and his application for refugee status was rejected. He has since been held in custody without charge.

Mr Yadegary says Muslims who convert to Christianity face a potential death penalty in Iran, and he has refused to sign travel documents which would allow him to be deported.

So if you face death because you’re gay, you get asylum, even if you lied to the government originally, but if you’re Catholic, that’s too bad. Those who still say that homosexuals are an endangered minority in need of special civil rights protections are daft. They often have more rights than the so-called majority.

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