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Gay asylum seekers win landmark Supreme Court battle

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Two from Iran and Cameroon have won their fight against deportation after the  ruled that they have the right to asylum in the UK.

The Home Office told the pair they could avoid persecution in their home countries, where homosexuality is still illegal, if they were "discreet" about their sexual orientation.

This argument did not find favour with the court, however. Lord Hope said: "To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny him the fundamental right to be who he is."

New Home Secretary Teresa May welcomed the ruling:

"We have already promised to stop the removal of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.

"I do not believe it is acceptable to send people home and expect them to hide their sexuality to avoid persecution. From today asylum decisions will be considered under the new rules and the judgment gives an immediate legal basis for us to reframe our guidance for assessing claims based on sexuality, taking into account relevant country guidance and the merits of each individual case."

The names of the refugees have not been released, but the Cameroonian man told the court how he was set upon by a mob after he was seen kissing his boyfriend, whilst the Iranian fears public flogging or execution if he returns home.

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