A German court has rejected the asylum appeal of an Iranian lesbian who fled persecution in Iran, telling her to go back to her homeland and live discreetly.
Samira Ghorbani Danesh, 24, fled Iran in 2009, after members of Iran's secret police, the Basji, raided a party she was attending with gay friends. According to the Local many of the party-goers were taken away, including Danesh's girlfriend, who she has not seen since.
Danesh herself hid as the party was raided but afterwards received a visit from the Basji. Autostraddle reported Danesh said her family had no idea she was gay and "I was so afraid of my family. I had to leave before they tried to take revenge on me for bringing shame to the family name."
Homosexual activity is banned in Iran. If Danesh returns she could face a brutal punishment. Lesbians receive 100 lashes if caught engaging in homosexual behaviour, and face execution for a fourth offence.
German-Iranian human rights expert Saba Farzan told Pink News "that if Ms Samira Ghorbani Danesh is deported to Iran, she will immediately be imprisoned and could face torture and the death penalty."
Farzan criticised the decision of the German court to return Danesh to Iran whilst cautioning her to hide her sexual orientation, saying the “judge’s statement that Samira should cover her sexual orientation not only lacks tremendous lack of the terrible situation for homosexuals inside Iran – being in serious danger and under immense repression by a brutal regime – but it also lacks moral clarity."
Although her appeal for asylum in Germany has been rejected, Danesh's lawyer has re-applied for asylum, and is hopeful that the press attention will it make it more difficult for Germany to return Danesh to Iran.