Iraqi LGBT leader Ali Hili has received more support in his attempts to gain asylum in the UK, with American progressive organisation www.Change.org launching a petition to British Home Secretary Alan Johnson. Created by the website’s leading gay author, Michael Jones, the petition allows supporters to send a personalised message to Johnson regarding the case.
The UK Government, through its Border Agency (UKBA), has refused to give priority to Hili’s application for asylum while he remains in exile in London, despite threats against his life. The application has been outstanding for nearly three years and he cannot travel while it’s being processed.
Campaign organisers said that 60 letters have already been sent to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, demanding he intervene. A petition started by the Iraqi LGBT organisation’s website has already drawn 700 signatures including comments from Iraqis who have been helped directly by Hili. UK Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has announced that she too has written to Johnson.
Six months after his review application, the UKBA told Hili’s solicitor, Barry O’Leary, that the assistance which Hili has given to the Foreign Office “does not count” and that the fatwa against him does not mean that Hili “falls within the classification of clear and immediate vulnerability”.
O’Leary said he has made the UKBA aware of the detrimental effects the nearly three-year delay is having on the work of Iraqi LGBT and the high profile and documented risks to Hili’s life.
“Nevertheless they decided to leave him in the queue for a decision. This can only harm LGBT individuals in Iraq,” O’Leary said.

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