Archive for February, 2008

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Iranian gay refugee risks deportation from the United Kingdom. Urgent appeal to Europe

Petition for Mehdi Kazemi: Europe Must Stop Deportation of Iranian Queers

He lived a marginalized and terrorized life as an Iranian homosexual in Iran; the burden of such a life became so strenuous that he finally left Iran for the UK with a student visa. Mehdi Kazemi is another Iranian gay refugee who left his home country with the hope of securing a more dignified life for himself in the West; and yet he is another young refugee who sees his hopes for safety and human dignity fading in the face of European governments’ lack of respect for even the most basic human rights. The European governments claim to be the champions of human rights and democracy and condemn Iran frequently for its violation of human rights; and yet they willingly pave the road for the government of Iran to go ahead with its human rights abuses, and arrest and execute an identified Iranian gay. Today, they sentence Mehdi to torture and possible death by deporting him to Iran, and tomorrow they issue statements commending this violent and unlawful act of execution.

Time after time we have read the statements of European governments against the Islamic Republic of Iran: “The Republic does not respect human rights” and yet these European powers deport Medi to the very government they criticize for violating gay rights. It must be known that such acts of deportation equally violate human rights. The UK government deports Mehdi Kazemi to Iran despite the well-known fact that there is a serious risk of his prosecution, torture and execution.

European governments in general and the UK government in particular must immediately change these oppressive anti-refugee policies and must make a serious effort in protecting the rights of human beings.

Mehdi Kazemi should not be deported back to Iran.
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Petition: Europe Must Stop Deportation of Iranian Queers

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Morocco: Protect Rights to Privacy and Fair Trial
Petition Calls for Repeal of Repressive Law

(New York, February 26, 2008-)
The Moroccan government should protect the rights to privacy and a fair trial, Human Rights Watch and the Moroccan Human Rights Association said today. Human Rights Watch and the Moroccan Human Rights Association called on the government to repeal a law that provides prison terms for consensual homosexual acts, and launched a petition demanding that the government repeal article 489 of the penal code. They also demanded the release of the six men currently imprisoned under this article.
“This trial shows how an unjust law can be used to violate the basic right to privacy and fuel social prejudice.”
Joe Stork, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division.

Police arrested the men in November 2007, after a video was circulated on the internet showing a private party in Ksar el-Kbir, a town between Rabat and Tangiers. The prosecution produced no evidence at trial that the defendants had violated Article 489, which provides prison terms for persons who commit lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.� The men all denied the charges. On December 10, after demonstrators marched through the town demanding that the men be punished, a court in Ksar el-Kbir sentenced them to between four and 10 months in prison. A Tangiers appeal court on January 15 upheld their conviction but reduced their sentences slightly.

This trial shows how an unjust law can be used to violate the basic right to privacy and fuel social prejudice, said Joe Stork, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division.

The Moroccan Human Rights Association and Human Rights Watch invite people from anywhere in the world to sign the petition by emailing petitionmaroc@hrw.org with their name and country of origin, or by visiting:
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/02/15/morocc18076.htm
The petition will eventually be presented to the Moroccan government but names will not otherwise be made public.

When a trial is as unfair as this one, people should protest to the authorities, added Khadija Ryadi, president of the Moroccan Human Rights Association. Beliefs may differ, but everyone shares the desire for justice�

Ksar el-Kbir Case Prompts Moroccan Association for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch to Launch Petition for Fair Trials and Privacy

L’affaire de Ksar el- Kébir incite L’Association Marocaine des Droits Humains et Human Rights Watch à lancer une pétition pour le respect du droit a un procès équitable et le droit à la vie privée

More informations in French:
Maroc : Protéger le droit au respect de la vie privée et à un procès équitable

See also: Solidarité Internationale LGBT (SI-LGBT)

Vidas Alternativas, http://va.vidasalternativas.eu/?p=726

Monday, February 25, 2008

BRAZILIAN GAYS DEMAND THAT FIDEL CASTRO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS FOR THE PERSECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS IN CUBA

Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest homosexual non-governmental organization in Latin America, demands that the dictator Fidel Castro, before his death, recognizes and asks for forgiveness for the grave errors of the Cuban revolution responsible for the demoralization, persecution, imprisonment in concentration camps, forced labor, torture, deportation, and death of thousands of gays, transvestites and lesbians in Cuba.

The unfortunate resolution approved during The First Cuban National Congress on Education and Culture of 1971 decreed that “homosexual deviations represent a anti-social pathology, making it inadmissible in any way their manifestations, or propagation, establishing as preventive measure the shunning of recognizable homosexual artists and intellectuals from interaction with the [Cuban] youth, barring gays, lesbians, and transvestites from representing Cuba artistically in festivals abroad.

Harsh penalties were then established to be applied to “the depraved who are repeat offenders and to the incorrigible anti-social elements.”

Many homosexual artists and writers were persecuted during that period of time, namely:

Virgilio Piñera, Lezama Lima, Gallagas, Anton Arrulat, Ana Maria Simon, and even the North-American poet Allen Ginsberg, who was deported [from Cuba] for having spread the permanent rumor in Cuba and abroad that Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, was a closeted homosexual. Another persecuted North-American was the journalist Allen Young who went from poster boy of the Cuban revolution to persona non grata for having denounced the cruelty of the homophobia existent on that island. While visiting Brazil, Young became famous for having refused to greet the then president Castelo Branco.

In 1980, according to official briefings seventeen hundred “incorrigible homosexuals” were deported from Cuba to the United States, even though human rights organizations estimate that number to be higher than ten thousand gays and transvestites deported from their homeland.

At the beginning of the AIDS crisis, Cuba was denounced internationally for creating tough prisons for what they called the “sidosos” (a pejorative term for people ill from HIV/AIDS), most of them homosexuals.

inferno which is what it still represents to this day for gays in a country that never learned the lesson from Che Guevara:

“One must harden without ever losing tenderness.” (“Hay que endurecer, pero sin perder la ternura jamás”.)

And yet it is said that even Guevara upon finding the book Teatro Completo by Virgilio Piñera, an openly admitted homosexual, in the Library of the Cuban Embassy in Algiers that he threw it against the wall saying:
“How come you keep in our embassy a book by a “pájaro maricón”?!”, the latter being the equivalent of “effeminate faggot”.
For more information please call dialing
55 (int. phone code for Brazil) + 71 – 3328.3783 or 55 + 71 – 9989.4748.
Posted by Luiz Mott, http://br.geocities.com/luizmottbr
Andrés Duques

 

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IRANIAN GAY REFUGEE RISKS DEPORTATION FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM, URGENT APPEAL TO EUROPE
EVERYONE GROUP: “SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR HIS HOMOSEXUALITY, WE MUST STOP THE UMPTEENTH VIOLATION OF A REFUGEE’S RIGHTS BY THE BROWN GOVERNMENT”

THE FLIGHT THAT WILL TAKE YOUNG MEHDI KAZEMI FROM AMSTERDAM TO LONDON, FROM WHERE HE WILL BE DEPORTED TO IRAN, IS BOOKED FOR TUESDAY FEBRUARY 26TH. EVERYONE GROUP IS APPEALING TO THE EUROPEAN UNION TO OVERRULE THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT’S DECISION, AND GRANT THE 19-YEAR-OLD POLITICAL ASYLUM. MEHDI HAS RECENTLY BECOME A REGULAR MEMBER OF EVERYONE. MEHDI IS WANTED IN IRAN AFTER HIS PARTNER – EXECUTED FOR HIS HOMOSEXUALITY IN APRIL 2006 – ADMITTED THEY WERE IN A RELATIONSHIP.

His full name is Seyed Mehdi Kazemi, he is not yet twenty, and he is one of the members of EveryOne. Mehdi is an Iranian homosexual who in November 2005 left Teheran to go and study in London. He was forced to apply for asylum to the British Home Office after the discovery, by the Iranian authorities of his homosexual relationship with another boy, who had already been sentenced to death and executed in April 2006.

Parham, his partner since the age of 15, was arrested by the Teheran police and accused of “lavat” (sodomy) after being caught by the Iranian authorities in the company of another boy while Mehdi was attending college in England. During the interrogation in jail, Parham was forced by his accusers to reveal the names of all the men he had had relationships with, among them Mehdi himself. The Iranian Police had already turned up at Mehdi’s father’s home in Teheran with an arrest warrant for his son, with the intention of sending him to trial.

A few months ago his application for asylum was turned down by the British Home Office: Mehdi will have to be repatriated to his country of origin because according to the British Government, he does not run any risk there. Mehdi therefore fled in secret from England, intending to take refuge in Canada, but he was blocked by the German border police. After hearing his story, he was sent to Holland (a country known for granting refugee status to Iranian homosexuals) and again handed over to the police. However, the United Kingdom has now sent a formal request to Holland asking for Mehdi’s return to Britain – according to the Treaty of Dublin, and according to regulation CE 343/2003, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.

Omar Kuddus, from the Gay Asylum UK association, tells EveryOne Group that he received a phone call from Mehdi, on February 18th, informing him that the flight that is to take him back to Britain has been arranged for Tuesday February 26th: it will leave at 8 a.m. (Dutch time) from the Amsterdam Airport of Schiphol, and arrive at Heathrow, London at about 8.30 a.m. (British time)

“We are asking the European Union to adopt a tough stance and overrule the decision taken by Gordon Brown’s Government, say the leaders of EveryOne, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, who have taken up the case. “The United Kingdom is continuing undaunted to violate the international conventions on human rights and the rights of refugees, as well as the European directives and laws which determine the requests for political asylum: they did it with the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakhsh, when they refused her refugee status, claiming she was unable to prove her homosexuality; they did it a month ago when they deported Ama Sumani back to Ghana. Ama is terminally ill with cancer, she had desperately asked to be treated in England seeing it would be impossible back in her country of origin.”

Everyone Group is making an official appeal to the European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, to put an immediate stop to the boy’s deportation and ensure he is immediately recognised refugee status. Only last January 31st the European Commission took a stance stating “Member States cannot expel or refuse refugee status to homosexual persons without taking into account their sexual preferences, the information relevant to the situation in their country of origin, including the laws and ways in which they are applied”.

“It is time the European Commission’s ruling became reality”, say the representatives of EveryOne. “We invite civil society to express its indignation towards the actions of the British Government, aimed at undermining the values of freedom and dignity of the individual”.

The young man’s full story, as well as his testimony, sent to the Iranian Queer Organization, is available from Monday the 25th in Italian and English on the EveryOne website http://www.everyonegroup.com.

For further information:

EveryOne Group

Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527

www.everyonegroup.com :: info@everyonegroup.com

preview_16x16.png PETITION HERE

Appeal for an Iranian homosexual refugee seeking asylum in Malaysia – Feb 19, 08

The following letter was sent to IRQO from an Iranian homosexual refugee seeking asylum in Malaysia. His name has been withheld and an alias used to protect his identity. He is in desperate need of funds to help him survive under unforgiving circumstances as he waits for his asylum application process to reach completion, at which point he may begin to legally work and take care of himself. IRQO hears of many such cases every day. Please read his appeal below and consider supporting IRQO so that we can support him and many others like him.
“My name is Sepehr [alias used]. I was born and raised in Iran, a country that kills people for falling in love. My government kills homosexuals by asserting we are an enemy of GOD. My president denies us even our existence as human beings when he claimed there are no homosexuals in Iran during his speech at Colombia University. If he can say there are no homosexuals in Iran, it is because we cannot show ourselves. We stay hidden because if we are visible they will lash us; they will hang us; they will kill us. I have had great difficulty in Iran and …”
Full story: www.irqo.net/IRQO/English/pages/113.htm

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Gemma Pritchard, Pink News

A gay teenager from Iran who fled the UK for the Netherlands last year after his appeal for asylum was refused by the Home Office has been arrested by Dutch authorities.

He is reported to be due to be returned to the UK next week, where he may face deportation back to Iran.

19-year-old Mehdi Kazemi is currently being held by police in Rotterdam pending his return to the UK.

According to a relative he is on suicide watch and has threatened to go on hunger strike.

At the end of last year a court in the Netherlands, where he was arrested, ruled he must be returned back to the UK.

He fled England last spring after his visa ran out and a Home Office tribunal dismissed his appeal against deportation.

It is feared that if Mehdi is ordered to be deported back to Iran he may face execution for being gay.

Mehdi left Iran in 2004 to travel to England on a student visa and continue his education.

While he was in the UK he learned that Iranian authorities had arrested his boyfriend back in Iran, and that his boyfriend had been forced to name Mehdi as someone with whom he had had a relationship.

See also : Gran Bretagna, diciannovenne iraniano a rischio deportazione
And : “Mehdi Kazemi : Human rights abuses in Iran” by Therion

PETITION HERE: SAVE MEHDI

Iran: the Radical Party requests a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador in Rome to discuss the case of the two young gay men sentenced to death.

(ANSA)
ROME, February 12 – An urgent meeting with Abolfazl Zohrevand, the Iranian Ambassador to Italy to discuss the case of the two young men sentenced to death in Iran for being homosexual. This is the request EveryOne Group has forwarded in a letter to the Iranian diplomat. An initiative shared by the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty together with the Nessuno Tocchi Caino (Hands off Cain) association.
In a note by the Radicals we read, “the international mobilization to save the lives of the two boys sentenced to death in Iran for being homosexual continues. In just a few days over 12,500 people have signed the petition (www.petitiononline.com/irangay) addressed to the Iranian authorities in an attempt to save the lives of Hamzeh Chavi and Loghman Hamzehpour. The two boys, aged 18 and 19, were arrested at Sardasht, in Iranian Azerbaijan, last January 23rd, and accused of “mohareb” (being enemies of Allah) and “lavat” (sodomy). After confessing, under torture, to being in love, the boys now risk capital punishment.

The Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, along with Nessuno Tocchi Cainom, has subscribed to the initiative begun by EveryOne who have sent a letter to Abolfazi Zohrevand, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Italy, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the case of the two young man, a case that has caused an outcry throughout the world and serious preoccupation about the violation of human rights taking place in the country.”

(ANSA)

By Every One Group

Another victory for Blue Diamond Society and all LGBTIs in Nepal.
The judges gave the verdict on 6th February 2008 on the ground that homosexual rights are also Human Rights and article 1, 2 and 4 of bestiality section of the Country Code 2020 and other laws, which the petitioner had taken as grounds for argument, were irrelevant.
Court hearing report on 6th February 2008.
On 18 June 2004, private lawyer Achut Prasad Kharel filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of Nepal demanding a ban on homosexual activities and accused that the group (Blue Diamond Society) was trying to legalize homosexual activities. The petitioner also took the position of some articles of Nepali law such as articles 1, 2 and 4 of the bestiality section of the Mulki Ain 2020 (Country Code), some articles of Marriage Registration Act, marriage section, and article 23 of the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights prohibiting homosexual activities. The Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nepal denied registering the case as per article 15 (2) of Supreme Court Regulation 2049. The Registrar took the position that the personal lives of homosexuals and their personal sexual activities would not be a matter of criminal law. It was argued that the writ petition was not a matter of public interest litigation. The petitioner then challenged the decision of the Registrar for not registering the writ petition. On July 12, 2004, the Supreme Court issued a show cause notice to the defendants to respond to the writ within fifteen days indicating why homosexual activities should not be banned. 1 Nepal Government, Prime Minister and Office of the Council of Ministers 2 Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs 3 Ministry of Home Affairs, 4 Chief District Officer (CDO), Kathmandu. The petitioner did not make Blue Diamond Society the defendant but being the group concerned, the Society filed an application for legal litigation saying that the petition had strongly advocated for a ban on homosexual activities and accused the group of trying to make homosexuality legal. BDS argued that the subject was of public interest litigation and requested to be granted permission to be the representative organization. The Nepal Government, Prime Minister and Office of the Council of Ministers responded that the petitioner had not given clear and strong grounds for making their office as defendants and the petitioner had not clearly mentioned the Ministry’s work and activities that have violated the fundamental and legal rights of petitioner. So, the Office said it had not violated any rights of the petitioner and the writ should be quashed. Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs responded that the petitioner had not clearly mentioned the Ministry’s work and activities that have violated the fundamental and legal rights of the petitioner. So, the Ministry argued that it had not violated any rights of the petitioner and the writ should be quashed. Ministry of Home Affairs responded that the claims of the petitioner were not justified. The Government of Nepal had not enacted any law to punish homosexuals and the argument where the petitioner had taken article 4 of Bestiality section of the Country Code, does not clearly mention the punishment of homosexual activities. So, the writ petition needed to be dismissed. Chief District Officer (CDO) responded that there was no clear provision in article 4 of the bestiality section to punish homosexual activities or unnatural sex. The writ should be quashed. The court set the time for 6 February 2008 for the final hearing on the petition. After hearing the pleadings of the private lawyer (who was the petitioner, Achut Prasad Kharel), the Division Bench’s Honorable Justices Balram K.C. and Mrs. Gauri Dhakal quashed the writ. The judges gave the verdict on the ground that homosexual rights are also Human Rights and article 1, 2 and 4 of bestiality section of the Country Code 2020 and other laws, which the petitioner had taken as grounds for argument, were irrelevant.
This is another great victory for Blue Diamond Society and all LGBTI Nepalese. We are very proud of our supreme court.
In Solidarity Sunil Babu Pant President Blue Diamond Society
Advocates Hari Phuyal (ICJ), Rup Naranya Shrestha (FWLD), Sapana Pradhan Malla (FWLD), Sharmila Dhakal (BDS), Bhuwan Prasad Nirula (BDS) and Sabin Shrestha (FWLD) represented the Blue Diamond Society (BDS).

By Every One Group

“The European Parliament (after a resolution put forward by the People’s Party, Socialists, Liberal Democrats and the moderate Right (UEN) and approved on January 31st ) has taken up the request to intervene presented by EveryOne Group in the petition www.petitiononline.com/irangay : a clear condemnation of the executions, repression, ethnic and religious discrimination being carried out in Iran, “particularly since the presidential elections of June 2005 “Without progress in these areas”, warns the European Parliament – that expressed ‘deep concern’ – “it will not be possible to reach an agreement of cooperation with the European Union”. The EU Parliament asked the Iranian authorities to honour their international obligations in this matter, by guaranteeing all citizens their civil rights and political freedom, and stopping capital punishment, torture and executions – particularly those carried out against minors. On January 30th we received news that the Minister of Justice in Iran, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi (the EveryOne petition is also addressed to him) established through a decree that executions in Iran will no longer be carried out in public. The decree also foresees a ban on the publication of photos and the broadcasting of scenes of the executions. This is a clear symptom of the embarrassment the Iranian Government is feeling in the face of the indignation aroused in the international community, but it is also the demonstration that the majority of Iranians are against the horrors of capital punishment and stoning, and that only a few extremists consider torture and flogging admissible methods.

On February 4th, EveryOne submitted a request to Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, asking for Europe to take a further courageous step and ask Amadhinejad for Hamzeh and Loghman’s release. The Italian PSE (PES – Party of European Socialists) delegation http://www.delegazionepse.it) has officially supported the request with an intervention from the European MP, Donata Gottardi, which we are publishing here.

Intervention by Donata Gottardi, European PES MP.

Yesterday EveryOne Group launched an appeal to Mr Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, to ask the Iranian President Amadhinejad for the immediate release of Hamzeh Chavi and Loghman Hamzehpour, the two young men of 18 and 19 arrested last January 23rd in Sardasht, Iranian Azerbaijan, and accused of “mohareb” (enemies of Allah) and “lavat” (sodomy), crimes punishable by hanging.

“We appreciated the report that Mr Solana presented to the European Parliament a few days ago on relations with Iran. As in the resolution we approved we firmly condemned the death sentences and executions, I ask Mr Solana to support EveryOne’s request, and ask the Iranian President to release the two boys.”

“If the Iranian President grants this request, Iran will give a fine signal of wishing to communicate with Europe and respect the resolution adopted by the United Nations for a moratorium on all executions. Sparing the lives of Hamzeh and Loghman could be the first step for doing away with all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that a country like Iran does not deserve to see as part of its legal system.”

Press Office – Andrea Ambrogetti

Italian Delegation – Pse (Pes) Group – European Parliament

tel 0032 2 284 2813

mob 0032 494 88 58 35

www.delegazionepse.it