Grapevine has just learned that Amir Shokrgozar, an asylum seeker from Iran, has been denied any kind of care or treatment from authorities in Italy. If he does not receive asylum from Iceland, he will be deported back to Iran within the next seven days, and will likely be executed there.
Amir fled Iran nearly nine years ago, where he was persecuted for his homosexuality. During his flight, he ended up in Italy where, despite not wanting to seek asylum there, he was fingerprinted and put in a refugee centre. He experienced considerable psychological and sexual abuse in Italy, and would flee to Iceland, where he applied for asylum nearly two years ago.
However, due to his having been registered in Italy, he was deported last month. Although he is engaged to an Icelandic man, Icelandic law requires foreigners to provide proof of their marital status from their home country in order to get married in Iceland – something Iran is unwilling to do, least of all for homosexuals.
Amir’s fiance has now told Grapevine that Amir’s situation has taken a turn for the worse.
Italian authorities have reportedly denied wanting to have anything to do with his case anymore, and have refused to grant him asylum. Amir is now homeless, in Sicily, and has no access to medical attention and is legally prohibited from working. This effectively makes Amir completely stateless. As such, if he is not granted asylum in Iceland within the next seven days, Italian authorities will deport him back to Iran. There, the punishment for homosexuality is death. His having converted to Christianity while in Iceland will also make a death sentence all the more likely, as apostasy also carries a death sentence by Iranian law.
Amir does have considerable ties to Iceland, which is one of the prerequisites for asylum. Prior to his deportation, he had been active with learning Icelandic at Tækniskólinn, as well as volunteering at the Red Cross and Samtökin ’78.
“His only hope is to receive asylum in Iceland as soon as possible,” Amir’s fiance told us. “I love him. I don’t want to lose him. Please, the government of Iceland, give him asylum in Iceland.”
Special thanks to GayIceland, who were first to report on Amir’s case.