Archive for the ‘Arrest’ Category

Gays Demand China Free AIDS Advocate at Olympic Torch Protest:
A press conference was supposed to be held today at 11 AM at United Nations Plaza by Tibetans living in the US, to demand China end its occupation of their country. I went to it expecting 2 or 3 dozen Tibetans and their supporters would be standing behind a microphone tree, explaining what they hope to accomplish as the Olympic torch passes through town.

What I found when I got there was a full-fledged rally, held in front of a large elevated stage near the north end of the plaza, and perhaps five-hundred protesters waving flags, chanting slogans and handing out flyers.

I hooked up with five other gay men who were there to call for the release of Chinese AIDS advocate Hu Jia, sentenced to three years in jail last week for pro-democracy advocacy, and to add our voices to the “Free Tibet” chorus.

Here are two photos of us posing for the cameras:

I’m proud a handful of us gays were present today, and will be attending other pro-Tibet events today and tomorrow, as the Olympic torch wends its way through San Francisco. And big thanks to the other gays who showed up today in support of our Tibetan friends and incarcerated AIDS advocate Hu Jia.

By Michael Petelis :
http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2008/04/gays-demand-china-free-aids-advocate-at.html

Olympic torch ambushed in London

Bus halted, gay activist Tatchell arrested

“Gordon Brown colludes with China’s tyrannical leaders”

London – 6 April 2008

The bus bearing the Olympic torch was today ambushed outside Selfridges department store in Oxford Street, London, by gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

Mr Tatchell ran in front of the bus carrying the Olympic flame. He held up a placard which read: “Free Tibet, Free Hu Jia.” He shouted the same words as he ran along in front of the bus.

The police wrestled Mr Tatchell to the ground, which delayed the bus briefly while he was removed to pavement. After questioning, he was later released without charge.

“Hu Jia was jailed for three and half years last week for campaigning for free speech, Tibetan autonomy, environmental protection, and for the human rights of the rural poor and people with HIV,” said Mr Tatchell.

“He exposed the Chinese government’s cover up of the use of HIV contaminated blood, the lack of support and care for people with HIV, and he challenged social prejudice and discrimination against people with the virus.

“Hi Jia is a truly heroic figure, who has shown immense foresight, determination and bravery. He has kept campaigning, even though he knew it would put him at risk of arrest, torture and imprisonment.

“In jail, Hu Jia is likely to be mistreated, denied medical treatment for his hepatitis B infection and starved of proper food.

For more information about Hu Jia, see here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/hu-jia-chinas-enemy-within-804589.html
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/2006/03/29/china_hujia/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hu_Jia_(activist)

“Gordon Brown has shamed himself and Britain by greeting the Olympic torch at Downing Street, at a time when China is shooting dead Tibetan protesters and jailing and torturing hundreds of political prisoners,” added Mr Tatchell.

“It is hypocritical for the Prime Minister to boycott the Zimbabwean regime, but not the dictatorial regime in China. These double standards bring our government into disrepute.

“The UK should not be colluding with a police state like China. Attempts to gently persuade the Beijing leaders to stop their human rights abuses have failed. They are manipulating the Olympics. We must
not allow them to exploit the Beijing games to divert attention from China’s abysmal human rights record.

“All countries that love freedom, democracy and liberty should refuse to host the Olympic torch and boycott the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Athletes should wear Tibetan flags during their events and on the podium when they collect their medals.

“China should be subjected to sporting protests in the same way that apartheid South Africa was subject to sporting protests.

“China is one the world’s most vicious anti-worker regimes. It has poor labour laws. Employees have little protection against abuse. Independent trade unions are banned and their leaders jailed.

“To make way for new cities, millions of rural people have been forced off their land with little or no compensation. China is free market state capitalism at its worst. The gap between the rich and poor is
one of the widest of any country on earth.

“The idea that China is any longer a communist state is laughable. The Communist Party has become a new ruling class and a route to personal advancement, corruption and wealth aggrandisement.

“The Beijing leaders are new emperors who ride roughshod over their own people. They have almost total power and they abuse it to oppress and exploit the Chinese nation, in ways that are often similar to the old feudal and colonial powers of the nineteenth century,” said Mr Tatchell.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell 020 7403 1790

 

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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

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By Matt Simonette, Chicago Free Press
Staff writer

When Russian gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev looks back on the last few years, he can be brutally honest.

“If I knew in 2005, (that) it would have taken so long, I don’t know if I would have started,” he said last week.

Alexeyev spoke Oct. 3 about the frustrating struggle GLBTs have been waging for equality in Russia at a talk sponsored by the Gay Liberation Movement at Berger Cultural Center in Edgewater.

He described an often-uphill struggle against Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who has opposed GLBT rights in Russia. Earlier this year, Luzhkov called gay people “satanic” and his opposition to attempts to hold Moscow gay Pride celebrations in 2006 and 2007 resulted in violence and arrests. When homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993, according to Alexeyev, the Russian gay community was not quite ready for what would come next.

“To reach decriminalization was the final goal. No one was thinking about anything else,” he added.

He said that the decriminalization came about not so much because of sudden societal concern for human rights in Russia, but because the country needed to align its human rights laws with those in western Europe, adding that most Russians were apathetic to human rights issues that did not concern them.

He described the attitude of most Russians as being, “As soon as I realize it doesn’t touch me, I just don’t care.”

Russian human rights activists have been slow to step up to the GLBT cause.

“Most of them were dissidents in Soviet times and were brought up in an era when this was illegal,” Alexeyev said.

But GLBT rights, in just two years’ time, have slowly been coming to the fore in activist circles. Alexeyev called the battle “the first front in the fight for human rights in Russia” since GLBTs have been the only group willing to take their struggle to the courts.

“Other groups never appeal in (Russian) courts or European courts,” he added.

He noted the irony that violence initiated by protesters at the Pride celebrations resulted in activist arrests. While not officially sanctioned, the government tends to look askance at intolerant extremists.

“It’s fine with (the government) that they exist. It keeps the people in fear,” Alexeyev said.

He added that, under Russian law, the Pride gatherings were completely legal.

“They put it into federal law—there is no way to ban a peaceful event,” Alexeyev said. But, both of the past two years, he was arrested anyway.

In 2006, he was held for three hours.

“They have the right to (detain) you for three hours to find out who you are,” Alexeyev said.

In 2007, he was held for 24 hours.

Full article
Gay Russia
See also: Leader of Gay Russia speaks at Chicago action

France seeks to enforce deportation quotas for illegal aliens by Elizabeth Bryant, San Francisco Chronicle

It is not yet fortress France, but the welcome mat is vanishing for immigrants as lawmakers debate tougher legislation and the center-right government of President Nicolas Sarkozy seeks to enforce deportation quotas for illegal aliens. The National Assembly passed a bill Thursday requiring would-be immigrants to take language and cultural values examinations. Controversial clauses in the legislation would introduce voluntary DNA testing and legalize gathering data based on race and ethnicity.

The legislation must be debated in the French Senate, but groups ranging from leftist politicians and immigration rights activists to police unions worry about enforcing stricter enforcement rules, and the Vatican is criticizing DNA testing.

“The desire to go to Europe is very strong,” said Catherine de Wenden, an immigration expert at the National Center for Scientific Research, a Paris think tank. “And the tougher the policy, the more likely it will lead to illegal immigration.”

Nearly 5 million immigrants live in France, accounting for about 8 percent of the nation’s 63 million inhabitants, according to the National Statistics Institute. The figure does not account for the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Africa. On Tuesday, several hundred protesters gathered in front of the National Assembly, waving banners denouncing Sarkozy and the new legislation.

“France has a tradition of immigration – it’s part of its wealth,” said Majid Messoudene, a 31-year-old Algerian from the Paris suburb of St. Denis, whose residents include a preponderance of immigrants. “Whether the government likes it or not, we’ll remain a country of immigration. And we’ll help the illegals and prevent deportations as much as possible.”

Prominent French scientists say DNA testing to determine whether foreigners applying for visas are actually related to family members they seek to join in France is unethical and illegal. Immigration activists such as Mouloud Aounit suggest the legislation reflects a “xenophobic” government.

“We can’t have immigration legislation that threatens fundamental liberties,” said Aounit, head of Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People, a Paris-based anti-discrimination group.

But supporters argue that France needs to set immigration limits to preserve its economy and national identity.

“A responsible management of migratory flows appears the only possible policy,” Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux told parliament, as he described the country’s current integration model as a failure.

Even members of Sarkozy’s own government – including Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who has said illegal immigrants should be expelled on a case-by-case basis – have voiced reservations about the new legislation.

Still, the bill makes good on Sarkozy’s campaign promises for “chosen immigration,” favoring skilled workers who fill critical labor gaps.

“Only 7 percent of immigration today is work-related. How can people integrate in France if they don’t have work?” he said Thursday on French television.

Sarkozy, the hard-driving former interior minister – and the son of a Hungarian immigrant – helped push through two previous laws hardening the country’s immigration policy. Last year, he created much controversy by deporting illegal immigrant students – and he cracked down on rioting youths in 2005, many of whom were of Arab and African extraction.

Just this year, Sarkozy has set deportation quotas for illegal residents – 25,000 in 2007; it was 15,000 in 2004 – and his immigration minister chastised regional governors last week for failing to meet them.

But the president has also championed affirmative action – what he calls “positive discrimination” – in jobs and education.

And his new government is striking in its ethnic diversity, starting with Justice Minister Rachida Dati, the daughter of North African immigrants.

Sarkozy’s policies have played well among many French – as did the slogan he once borrowed from far-right nationalist leader Jean-Marie Le Pen: “France, love it or leave it.”

A survey published Tuesday in Le Figaro indicated that 74 percent of those polled favor immigration quotas. Most also support French-language requirements for would-be immigrants and oppose blanket conformance to law, rules or custom by illegal immigrants, according to the OpinionWay poll.

France’s strict approach is reflected elsewhere in Europe, where many countries are requiring language testing and attempting to entice qualified foreign workers.

But some economists say Europe needs unskilled workers, given the decline in birth rates and the graying of the continent. An International Monetary Fund report says the fastest-growing segment of the population is older than 80. And studies by the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration show that immigrants typically work in occupations shunned by Europeans.

But such arguments aren’t why civil servant Vincent Strobel adamantly opposes his government’s immigration policy.

“They (immigrants) should have full rights and participate fully in the construction of this country,” said Strobel as he passed out flyers against the new legislation in front of the National Assembly.

See also : Alfoussène, 9 ans, en voie d’être expulsé seul vers le Mali où il n’a aucune famille
La France nous oblige à partir vers la mort : The travel of Yekaterina et Vladimir Popov toward death :
«La France nous oblige à partir vers la mort, c’est sûr à cent pour cent. Encore plus depuis que la préfecture des Ardennes a fait faire une enquête auprès de la police du Kazakhstan, le KNB, ancien KGB.
Tout le monde peut comprendre qu’il est impossible pour nous de rentrer sans danger au Kazakhstan, où les Russes qui restent sont déjà très brimés.
Véronique et Geoffrey, nos deux enfants aussi trouveront la mort là-bas, et quelle mort ! Quand les gendarmes sont venus nous chercher, j’ai voulu laisser mes enfants à ma mère ; ils m’ont dit non, les enfants viennent avec vous.
Si on nous embarquait de force, qu’on ait au moins pitié de nos enfants, qu’ils soient confiés à ma mère.»

Michael Petrelis Page on the subject
Act Up-Paris zappe le ministère de l’immigration

Cameroon new detention based on sexual orientation :

At the hour when six young men held with the prison of New Bell (Douala, Cameroun), appear before the examining magistrate of the Court of Bankruptcy of Douala, Alternative-Cameroun association is worried by the fate of three others prevented stopped on August 30, 2007 for homosexuality. The facts make share of the arrest of the sieurs BAEEG, Lazar, 24 years old, agent of safety; BALEP, Emmanuel, 28 years, trading; and DIKONGUE TONY Raoul, 25 years, artist musician. The latter were apprehended by the Brigade of research of the National Gendarmerie of Ier district of Douala on August 30, 2007 for homosexuality and were placed at once in police custody. According to the contents of the verbal lawsuit of synthesis published by the brigade, their patrol would have been challenged by the public clamour informant to have controlled two shadies like their spoils with the district says Bonapriso. Thereafter, the investigation carried out would have made it possible to join together indices proving that the latter had committed “the offence” of homosexuality. The three were heard under verbal lawsuit by the Public prosecutor on 31 August, then put under provisional mandate of detention the same day. Since, they appeared on September 5 with the Parquet floor of Douala and deny the facts. An audience is planned for Wednesday on November 7 in the morning, but already we are informed of the arrest and the detention of 2 men in Yaounde. Overflowed association calls for the aid to give support for all these prisoners.
Douala, September 21, 2007

Photo Courtesy : Kelma
Message from Solidarité Internationale Lesbiennes, Gays, Bi et Trans (SI-LGBT)