Archive for the ‘Hanging’ Category
Last year in Iran on December 5, 2007 Makvan Mouloodzadeh 21-years old was executed. Homophobia runs deep into Iranian society. This, of course, partly reflects the influence of the conservative Islamic legal and religious standards promoted by the government.
Within the region, Iran is distinguished by the overt severity of the penalties; it imposes on consensual, adult homosexual conduct. Lavat, or sodomy, is punishable by execution on the first offence, regardless of whether the partner is passive or active. Article 111 of the Islamic Penal Code states that, “Lavat is punishable by death so long as both the active and passive partners are mature, of sound mind, and have acted of free will.” Death is also the punishment for the first offence involving sex between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. According to Articles 121 and 122 of the Penal Code, Tafkhiz (the rubbing together of thighs or buttocks, or other forms of non-penetrative “foreplay” between men) is punishable by one hundred lashes for each partner. Upon a fourth conviction of Tafkhiz the punishment is death. Article 123 of the Penal Code further provides that, “if two men who are not related by blood lie naked under the same cover without any necessity,” each will receive ninety-nine lashes.
According to Iran’s Penal Code, an accused person can be convicted of sodomy if he reiterates a confession to the act four times, or if four “righteous men” testify that they have witnessed the act. The Code also offers ways to circumvent this nominally high standard of evidence. Judges may lodge a conviction for sodomy based on “the knowledge of the judge,” in practice allowing a wide range of circumstantial evidence to be adduced as proof. Furthermore, the practice of torture is prevalent in Iran, and the practice of torturing prisoners to extract confessions is common. Forced confessions are openly accepted as evidence in criminal trials.
The death penalty for lavat does not merely exist on paper: it is practiced and enforced. Trials on morals charges in Iran are held in camera; yet, international outrage over the frequency of executions (Iran has the second highest rate of executions per capita in the world) has led the government to exercise tight controls over press reporting of the death penalty. For these reasons, confirming the frequency of executions for lavat is effectively impossible.
On December 5, 2007, Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year-old Iranian man was executed in Kermanshah Central Prison. He was found guilty of multiple counts of anal rape (ighab), allegedly committed when he was as young as 13 years old. At his trials, all the witnesses retracted their pre-trial testimonies, claiming to have lied to the authorities under duress. Makvan also told the court that his confession was made under coercion and pleaded not guilty. The Seventh District Criminal Court of Kermanshah in Western Iran and the Supreme Court nonetheless found him guilty and sentenced him to death. This ruling directly violated various legal codes of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Makvan was born on March 31, 1986, making him a minor back in 1999, at the time of the alleged crime. Article 113 of the Islamic Penal Code declares: “If a minor sodomizes another minor, both should be punished by up to 74 lashes, unless one of them is forced to do so.” Since the alleged sodomy happened when the defendant and his alleged partners were 13 years old, the death penalty was not technically applicable to this case. Although all the alleged witnesses and victims dismissed the sodomy charges, the defendant pleaded not guilty and there was no medical examination conducted to verify the case, the judge employed the “Knowledge of the Judge” clause as a way to prove sodomy in this case. This case caused an international uproar. In response to mounting public pressure, and following a detailed petition submitted to the Iranian Chief Justice by Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s lawyer, the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, nullified the impending death sentence. The Iranian Chief Justice described the death sentence to be in violation of Islamic teachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics, and the law of the land. However, in defiance of the Chief Justice, the judges ultimately decided to ratify the original court’s ruling and ordered the local authorities to carry out the execution. This case is a clear example of how convictions of sodomy can be obtained despite the absence of any credible evidence.
We are in 21st centaury but still discrimination for queer community do exist. Unfortunately in most of international reports about Iran, governments and United Nations are pointing to all human rights violation except queer people who are facing persecution on base of their sexual orientation.
Few days ago, France, on behalf of a member of the European Union, has tabled a resolution at the United Nations as the UN marks the 60th anniversary of its Declaration on Human Rights calling for governments worldwide to decriminalize homosexuality. The UN General Assembly is expected to adopt the resolution on December 10. If adopted, it will be non-binding on member states.
IRanian Queer Railroad would like to express its support and urges governments and United Nations to adopt this resolution because queer rights are human rights.
IRanian Queer Railroad – IRQR
“Makwan: A Letter From Paradise” is a video-poem by Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau dedicated to 21-year-old Makwan Moloudzadeh who was hung in prison (Tehran) last December while the international campaign to save his life was collecting signatures and gaining momentum all over the world.
Makwan died an innocent boy. He has become a symbol, both in Iran and throughout the world, for all those who are committed to fighting the inhuman logic of the death penalty.
Thousands of activists all over the world had made a desperate appeal to the authorities and sent them white and red flowers in an attempt to stop the executioner taking his young life. At his funeral a large crowd of townspeople accompanied Makwan’s mortal remains, and prayed that his sacrifice would serve to save other human lives by inviting those in power and the judges to realise the horror of the death penalty. This video-poem was made with the support of the Moloudzadeh family, and Makwan’s Uncle Mahmoud who lives in Germany.
Two great actors have given their important contribution to the work, lending their voices to this message to humanity: Emiliano Coltorti in the Italian version; Norman Nawroski in the English version. “Makwan: a Letter from Paradise” opposes the death sentence and its terrible significance (which embodies hatred and revenge) with a respect for life; because murder constitutes, without exception, the greatest possible violation of human rights.
GAY HOMELAND FOUNDATION
19 July 2008
Vigil commemorating Gay and Lesbian victims of Iran’s Ayatollah regime for 19 July 2008 in Cologne, Germany
The Gay Homeland Foundation, an organization dedicated to furtherance of a Gay national movement and cultural progress of the Gay-Lesbian community, and baraka, an international self-organization group of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual immigrants in Cologne, have for the second time organized a political demonstration commemorating all Gay and Lesbian victims of the Ayatollah regime in Iran in Cologne on 19 July 2008. The action started at 17:30 with a talk on the human rights situation of Gays and Lesbians in Iran, presented by Dr. Viktor Zimmermann, and continued with a vigil at the “Memorial for Lesbian and Gay victims of National Socialism” in Cologne at 19:30. Jacek Marjanski from baraka, and Ensi, an Iranian Lesbian refugee from Iran, read the common statement in German and Farsi.
RUBICON, Cologne’s counseling center for Gays and Lesbians, also supported the event.
19 July 2008 is the anniversary of the 2005 execution of two homosexual teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, who were believed to be lovers and were denounced to the police by a family member.
Authorities later distributed official information suggesting that the two teenagers were executed because of a rape of a 13-year old boy. In Iran, such accusations are routinely applied against homosexuals to justify a death sentence, since the regular proof by four witnesses (as prescribed by Sharia) can not be realistically supplied.
Gay Homeland Foundation greatly appreciates the accurate research performed by Simon Forbes from the British group Outrage!. The two executed teenagers will always remind us of the fate of many of
our brothers and sisters in Iran who were tortured and murdered by the Ayatollah regime and its death squads.
In today’s Iran, Gays and Lesbians still suffer the worst oppression and live in daily fear of denunciation. The country’s harsh Islamic regime has declared a downright war against homosexuals, reminiscent of ethnic cleansing in its perfidy: Specially trained agents routinely entrap Gay men in internet forums. In this atmosphere of constant fear, many commit suicide or undergo unnecessary sex-change operations.
The Gay Homeland Foundation (GHF) appeals to the international community to cease deporting Gay and Lesbian asylum-seekers to persecuting countries, and to consider instead the establishment of a self-administered territory for the Gay and Lesbian people.
The Gay Homeland Foundation is an organization dedicated to furtherance of a Gay national movement and cultural progress of the Gay-Lesbian community; the administrative center is located in Cologne, Germany. The Foundation is actively investigating the possibilities for establishment of self-administered GLBT settlements and organizing the LGBT community in a sovereign political entity.
Dans une dépêche encore consultable en ligne et datée du 13 mai 2008, le site internet iranien d’information Entekhab révèle la condamnation à mort de quatre garçons tout juste majeurs. Originaires de Mashad, ils ont été reconnus coupables du viol collectif dans le désert de deux adolescents âgés de seize ans. Aucun des quatre condamnés n’a passé l’âge de 23 ans. Ils auraient avoué le crime lors de leur procès et la cour suprême a confirmé la sentence.
En 2007, selon un décompte effectué par Têtu, 27 Iraniens ont été exécutés pour des faits liés à l’homosexualité. Les associations de défense des droits de l’homme dénoncent le manque de clarté qui accompagne les mises à mort. Il est impossible de savoir si ces hommes sont des criminels ou si les accusations de viol sur mineur servent, en fait, à masquer une répression sanglante de l’homosexualité, interdite par le code pénal iranien.
Depuis le début de l’année 2008, la presse iranienne a annoncé la condamnation à mort d’au moins sept hommes pour «viol homosexuel», toujours selon des informations recueillies par Têtu.
Gay refugees face prejudice across the world
15th April 2008 18:20
Biplob Hossain, a gay refugee from Bangladesh who is seeking asylum in Australia, and Joaquin Ramirez, facing deportation to El Salvador, have highlighted the plight of gay men who flee their countries to escape persecution.
Mr Hossain, 25, moved to Australia on a student visa when he was 19.
He applied for asylum on the basis that he would suffer persecution in Bangladesh. He was placed in a detention centre for 29 months.
After three rejections by the Refugee Review Tribunal and a failed High Court bid, Mr Hossain is hoping for a personal intervention from the Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans.
He was released from Villawood Detention Centre in October 2006, but is not allowed to work or collect social security benefits.
Sandi Logan, a spokesperson for the Immigration Department, told Australian SX News:
“A person’s sexual orientation does not of itself enable that person to be granted asylum.”
“We provide protection for asylum seekers under the UN definition of a refugee, under the Convention 67 protocol, which doesn’t include their sexual orientation or their fears of persecution associated with that orientation.”
Bangladeshi law states that gay sex acts are illegal and will be punished with deportation, fines and life imprisonment.
The national law itself is rarely directly enforced however there have been numerous reports of incidents of vigilantism.
People suspected of homosexuality have also been sentenced to death by a fatwa.
Meanwhile, in Canada, a gay man is facing deportation to his native El Salvador where he claims that three police officers who raped him are now out to kill him.
Joaquin Ramirez, a 39-year-old HIV-positive man said the accused perpetrators have visited his family and threatened to kill him because he infected them with the HIV virus.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board doubted Mr Ramirez’s claims, asking why he did not seek legal support in his own country when the incident occurred.
Mr Ramirez told Canadian newspaper The Star:
“How could I go to the same people and ask them to protect me when it’s those people who did this to me?”
Mr Ramirez worked as a volunteer outreach worker with the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Salvadoran Network of People Living with HIV.
He said he was picked on by three drunken officers at a restaurant in 2006 and driven to a plantation field where he was allegedly beaten and raped.
Five months later he claims a stranger called his sister and threatened to kill him for infecting them with the virus.
The refugee didn’t believe Ramirez left El Salvador because of the alleged assault as he had already planned to leave in November 2005.
The two stories come just weeks after the much published case of Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi.
Mr Kazemi came to London in 2005 to study English but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.
The UK rejected his first asylum plea, but Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now granted him a temporary reprieve from deportation while she reconsiders his case.
In 76 countries people face jail for having gay sex.
Homosexual acts officially carry the death penalty in several nations including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, and Yemen.
In many Muslim countries, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria and the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines, or corporal punishment.
In Egypt, openly gay men have been prosecuted under general public morality laws.
Some liberal Muslims, such as the members of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, accept and consider homosexuality as natural pointing out that the Qu’ran speaks out against homosexual lust, and is silent on homosexual love.
However, this position remains highly controversial even amongst liberal movements within Islam, and is considered beyond the pale by mainstream Islam.
The UK is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which means that it has a responsibility under international law not to return refugees to a place where they would face persecution.
Defend Mehdi Kazemi
Oppose Iran’s homophobic persecution
Reform the asylum system to protect LGBT refugees
Join the protest
This Saturday, 22 March
2pm to 3pm
Opposite Downing Street, Whitehall, SW1
Friends and supporters of gay Iranian asylum seeker, Mehdi Kazemi, are asking you to join our protest opposite Downing Street this Saturday, March 22nd:
Our demands are:
– Don’t send Mehdi Kazemi back to his death in Iran
– Down with Iran’s homophobic laws
– For the right to settle in the UK.
The event is sponsored by Middle East Workers’ Solidarity and the National Union of Students LGBT campaign, and is supported by the LGBT human rights group, OutRage!
www.union-solidarity.org has more details.
OutRage! is highlighting the five failings of the Home Office with regard to LGBT refugees:
– No training on sexual orientation issues for asylum staff and adjudicators
– No explicit official policy supporting the right of refugees to claim asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation
– No action to stamp out the abuse of LGBT refugees in UK asylum detention camps
– No accurate, up-to-date information on the victimisation of LGBT people in violently homophobic countries
– No access to adequate legal representation for LGBT asylum applicants
We hope to see you on Saturday at 2pm.
Solidarity and appreciation, Peter Tatchell, OutRage!
A few hours ago we received the news that Seyed Mehdi Kazemi’s appeal for asylum has been turned down by the Dutch authorities. Medhi is the 19-year old Iranian, member of EveryOne Group who faces the death sentence in Iran for his homosexuality. The boy, who is being held in the detention centre at Rotterdam Airport was judged by the Dutch Supreme Court today. Mehdi had fled to Holland after the United Kingdom had turned down his request for asylum “Unfortunately the verdict was expected”, say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, the leaders of EveryOne Group, “because the Netherlands has a subjection relationship with the British Government. In spite of the international protests, Mehdi Kazemi will be sent back to the United Kingdom within the next 72 hours – starting from 2 p.m. today. From there it is very likely that the UK Home Office will decide to deport him to Iran where he faces torture and the death sentence – according to Islamic Law homosexual relations represent a crime (defined as “lavat”) a crime to be punished with the most brutal and degrading treatment, followed by hanging. The news of his imminent deportation to London comes from the Dutch Immigration Office”.
EveryOne Group has requested, through international channels, an urgent meeting with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. “The Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty and the associations Nessuno Tocchi Caino (Hands Off Cain) and Certi Diritti are working at our side to save the life of this young Iranian boy”, say the activists “and tonight or tomorrow morning a member of EveryOne Group will meet Mehdi himself in the Rotterdam detention centre. Mehdi’s story is now being reported in newspapers and from TV screens in all the civilised countries, and the campaign to save the boy is attracting new interest by the hour. “From the BBC to the CNN, from the Times to the Independent: everyone is asking us for photographs, news and details about this case, a human and civil case that shows how far we still have to travel along the road for refugees’ rights. Over 60 European MPs, hundreds of personalities from the world of politics, intellectuals of all nationalities and countless other voices have joined us in the protest against the abuses that democratic countries like the United Kingdom and Holland are committing towards innocent people, human beings who are appealing for international protection in order to avoid unjust punishment and a horrendous death on the scaffold or under a hail of stones. It seems unbelievable, and yet – while people all over the world discuss human rights and spend millions of euros organising conferences on the subject of asylum rights – once again an innocent young man like Mehdi is running a serious risk of dying with a rope around his neck because some European governments prefer to get round the laws that protect refugees rather than carry out their duties towards them”. “We have to save young Mehdi”, say the leaders of EveryOne Group, “but then we have to make sure Europe identifies and formalizes a common policy, without any loopholes, to solve the refugee problem in a humane way”.
Further details will be posted in the next few hours.
Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527
Sunday, March 9th, 2008
GAY IRANIAN REFUGEE, EVERYONE GROUP: “UNITED KINGDOM IS A DANGER FOR ALL REFUGEES”
REPORT WILL BE PRESENTED IN EUROPE
THE UK HOME OFFICE: “GAY PEOPLE CAN RETURN TO IRAN, IF THEY ARE ‘DISCREET'”
In an article published on Friday March 7th 2008, in the The Independent, Simon Hughes, leader of the Liberal Democrats and the party’s Shadow Leader in the House of Commons, stated: “The Home Office claims that a gay person can return to Iran and avoid persecution by being “discreet”. All advice suggests that in Iran, to be discreet means that you would have to deny your identity. The punishment for giving in to personal feelings might well be nothing less than torture or death”.
The same theory had was pointed out by the members of the NNRF (Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum) years ago: “The Home Office claims that if a gay person is less obvious about being gay or lesbian they won’t attract the attention of their persecutors,” writes Richard McCance on the refugees’ association’s website.
The EveryOne Group, that, since its launch, has promoted, along with the Non-Violent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, and the Nessuno Tocchi Caino and Certi Diritti associations, a campaign in support of its member Seyed Mehdi Kazemi, is going to present a written deposition to the European Union objecting to the UK Home Office’s behaviour towards refugees claiming asylum.
“Mehdi absolutely has to stay in the Netherlands. It has been shown that the United Kingdom operates an out-and-out persecutory policy towards refugees, especially homosexuals” affirm the EveryOne Group’s leaders Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau. “The Home Office’s statements are serious, and contrary to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is to be hoped that European Authorities urgently intervene in this situation”.
“In 2004, a 29-year-old Zimbabwean, Thando Dube, was at death’s door, following a 33-day hunger strike in a UK detention camp. Her crime? Thando was a lesbian who fled to Britain to escape the well-known persecution of LGBT people in Zimbabwe. “Her asylum claim was refused,” it’s written in the EveryOne Group’s report. “In September 2003, Israfil Shiri, a gay Iranian asylum seeker, died after pouring petrol over himself and setting himself on fire in the offices of Refugee Action in Manchester, after his asylum claim was refused (in the lower and appeal court) and his deportation to Iran, where he would-have-been hanged, had been arranged. In April 2005, 26-year-old Hussein Nasseri shot himself two weeks after his asylum claim was turned down by the Home Office, refusing in this way to let himself be killed by Iranian executioners”.
However, according to the EveryOne Group not only homosexuals suffered from the British Government’s indifference: Burhan Namig, born in 1980, was deported on September 5th 2006 from the United Kingdom – where his asylum claim had been refused because “not at sea” – to Kurdistan, despite falling into a deep depression and attempting suicide. On arrival in Kurdistan, Burhan had a heart attack, as a result of the inhuman treatment received in a British detention centre. In February 2007, at least two Iraqi Kurds were deported in secret from United Kingdom to the North of Iraq on a military plane carrying medicines and other humanitarian supplies, this despite the ongoing violence in Iraq, after American military actions, and despite the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq being subject to continuous terrorist attacks and serious human rights abuses. “We take a robust approach to people who are here illegally” a Home Office spokesperson told IRR (Independent Race and Refugee News Network) last year.
The latest case is that of Ama Sumani, a 39-year-old Ghanaian woman, studying in the UK, who was diagnosed with a malignant tumour that couldn’t be treated in Ghanaian hospitals. Her asylum claim was refused by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the woman was removed, against her will, on January 9th 2008, from University Hospital, Cardiff, in a wheelchair, and repatriated. According to the Home Office, this was all carried out with “politeness and dignity”.
“All this demonstrates how the United Kingdom’s and its Home Office’s behaviour represent a danger for all refugees, all the more so for those such as Mehdi Kazemi or the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakshs, who face capital punishment because of their homosexuality” conclude Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau. “We ask the Dutch Authorities to immediately grant Mehdi refugee status, to avoid another life being destroyed because of the demonstrable and incontrovertible attitude of the UK to violating refugees’ rights. Finally, we ask the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to look out for the rights of refugees currently in the United Kingdom, who come from nations where they risk persecution, in order to prevent any abuse, violation and/or unjust deportation”.
For further information:
Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527
www.everyonegroup.com :: firstname.lastname@example.org