Death Sentence?

Finland To Gay Asylum Seeker Facing Iranian Death Squad: Okay, Maybe You Can Stay

Finland has joined its usually-progressive Nordic neighbors in trying to come to grips with the issue of whether or not to deport LGBT asylum seekers from far less tolerant countries.

The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court told the country’s Immigration Service this week that it must reconsider the case of an Iranian man who had been denied asylum and was slated for deportation.

The court urged immigration authorities to carefully scrutinize whether Iranians have sufficient grounds to fear sexual orientation-based persecution in their homeland.

The unnamed asylum applicant has told Finnish officials that Iranian authorities are well aware of his sexual orientation, and that since he has already been convicted in absentia in Iran for homosexuality, his name is on an government-issued wanted list. Should he return there, he believes he could face execution.

Last week Pentti Visanen, the head of the Migration Department of the Finnish Interior Ministry, said that Finland must take full responsibility when gay deportees are sent back to countries where they could be put to death. Finnish researchers have pinpointed ten cases between 2008 and 2010 where gay deportees may have faced harsh punishments upon returning to their native lands.

The head of the asylum unit of the Finnish Immigration Service, Esko Repo, said last year that despite the large number of LGBT-based asylum seekers in the country, sexual-orientation persecution has thus far rarely been considered an adequate reason for granting Finnish political asylum. Repo said that of the approximately four thousand asylum applicants in Finland in 2010, a “three digit number” applied on the grounds of likely maltreatment in their native lands due to sexual orientation.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #finland #gayasylum #immigration stories and more


  • hyhybt

    It’s a problem… on the one hand, *nobody* should have to go to Iran, regardless of where they came from, especially gay people. On the other, there are simply too many living in such places for asylum to absorb them all.

  • the crustybastard


    What are you on about? A country that grants asylum doesn’t go in and airlift people out. Asylum is for the lucky few who manage to escape.

    Yours is the reasoning that sent ships full of Jews back to Germany, numbnuts.

    When it comes to saving lives, you make room. You just do.

  • Tony

    I couldn’t put it better, Crusty-B.

    Saving anyone fleeing a repressive regime is the whole point of offering asylum. If a country is so terrified of getting ‘too full’ of refugees then they can reduce the number of legal immigrants to allow in those who might face death if they return.

    I must say I’m shocked that Finland would reject such applicants. It’s time to look into buying that gay island and starting our own country.

Comments are closed.