Archive for the ‘Makwan Moloudzadeh’ Category
A watershed for gay rights.
For the first time in its history, the UN General Assembly will consider a declaration urging the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.
By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
A declaration calling for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality is scheduled to be put before the United Nations General Assembly this Wednesday, which is Human Rights Day and the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It will be the first time in its history that the UN General Assembly has ever considered the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) human rights.
Although not be binding on the member states, the declaration will have immense symbolic value, given the six decades in which homophobic persecution has been ignored by the UN.
If you want to understand why this decriminalisation declaration is so important and necessary, ponder this:
Even today, not a single international human rights convention explicitly acknowledges the human rights of LGBT people. The right to physically love the person of one’s choice is nowhere enshrined in any global humanitarian law. No convention recognises sexual rights as human rights. None offer explicit protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Yet 86 countries (nearly half the nations on Earth) still have a total ban on male homosexuality and a smaller number also ban sex between women. The penalties in these countries range from a few years jail to life imprisonment. In at least seven countries or regions of countries (all under Islamist jurisdiction), the sentence is death: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Mauritania and parts of Nigeria and Pakistan.
See the global survey of homophobia, published by the International Gay and Lesbian Association:
Many of the countries that continue to criminalise same-sex relationships are in Africa and Asia. Their anti-gay laws were, in fact, imposed by the European powers during the period of colonialism.
With the backing of Christian churches and missionaries, the imperial states exported their homophobia to the rest of the world. In many of the conquered lands, little such prejudice had previously existed and, in some cases, same-sex relations were variously tolerated, accepted and even venerated. This importation of western homophobia happened in countries like Ghana, Jamaica, Nigeria and Uganda, which now absurdly decry homosexuality as a “white man’s disease” and “unAfrican”, while vehemently denying and suppressing all knowledge of their own pre-colonial era indigenous homosexualities.
Unsurprisingly, the Vatican and the Organisation of Islamic States are leading the fight against the UN declaration. The opposition of the Pope is truly sickening, depraved and shameless.
Of course, the Vatican has form. In 2004, it teamed up with Islamist dictatorships in the UN Commission on Human Rights to thwart a resolution sponsored by Brazil that opposed homophobic violence and discrimination. The Holy See is so viciously homophobic that it opposed the UN condemnation of the murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people:
Last week, the Papal envoy to the UN, Monsignor Celestino Migliore, explained the “logic” of this opposition when he announced the Vatican’s rejection of this week’s decriminalisation declaration. The
Monsignor argued that the UN declaration would unfairly “pillory” countries where homosexuality is illegal; forcing them to establish “new categories (gay people) protected from discrimination.” Such laws would “create new and implacable acts of discrimination….States where same-sex unions are not recognized as ‘marriages,’ for example, would be subject to international pressure,” according to The Times newspaper in London:
In other words, protecting LGBT people against discrimination is an act of discrimination against those who discriminate. Since the Vatican is against discrimination, it opposes discrimination against countries that discriminate. This is the mediaeval mindset of the Pope and his placemen.
Never mind, there are already plenty of countries committed to supporting the UN decriminalisation declaration.
It will be tabled in the General Assembly on Wednesday by France with the backing of all 27 member states of the European Union; plus non-EU European nations such as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Ukraine, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Armenia and Macedonia. Russia and Turkey are not signing.
The call for the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships also has the support of the Latin American states of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay – but not, notably, Columbia, Guyana or Venezuela.
Only three African nations – Gabon, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau – are endorsing the declaration so far. South Africa has not signed up. No Caribbean nation has offered its support – not even Cuba.
Although New Zealand is committed to the declaration, Australia is not. Nor is the United States. But Canada is a sponsor.
No country in the Middle East, apart from Israel, endorses the declaration, and in Asia only Japan has agreed to approve it. China and India are silent on where they stand.
The initiative for the UN universal decriminalisation declaration came from the inspiring French black activist and gay rights campaigner, Louis-Georges Tin, the founder of the International Day Against
Homophobia (IDAHO). He lobbied the French government, which agreed to take the lead in getting the declaration tabled at the UN. Member organisations of the global IDAHO network then petitioned their
individual governments to support it.
What is truly remarkable is that IDAHO is just a loose, unfunded global grassroots LGBT activist network, with no office, no staff and no leaders. It has pulled off something that none of the well paid
LGBT professionals, working for often lavishly financed LGBT non-governmental organisations, have managed to come even close to achieving.
A reminder as to why this UN declaration matters occurred last Friday, a sad anniversary. On 5 December 2007, Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year-old Iranian man, was hanged in Kermanshah Central Prison, after an unfair trial.
A member of Iran’s persecuted Kurdish minority, he was executed on charges of raping other boys when he was 13. In other words, he committed these alleged acts when he was minor. According to Iranian law, a boy under 15 is a minor and cannot be executed. At Makvan’s mockery of a trial, the alleged rape victims retracted their previous statements, saying they had made their allegations under duress. Makvan pleaded not guilty, telling the court that his confession was made under torture. He was hanged anyway, without a shred of credible evidence that he had even had sex with the boys, let alone raped them. The lies, defamation and homophobia of the debauched Iranian legal system was exposed when hundreds of villagers attended Makvan’s funeral. People don’t mourn rapists.
This execution was bared-faced homophobic judicial murder, according to Arsham Parsi, Executive Director, of the underground Iranian Queer Railroad, which helps Iranian LGBTs fleeing arrest, torture and execution.
Makvan’s fate is just one example of the thousands of state-sponsored acts of homophobic persecution that happen worldwide ever year. It shows why Wednesday’s UN declaration is so important – and so long overdue.
UPDATE: UN Declaration on decriminalising homosexuality
London – 9 December 2009
The presentation of the declaration for the worldwide decriminalisation of homosexuality is now expected to take place at the UN General Assembly between 15 and 20 December – not on 10 December as previously reported.
This means there is still time to lobby governments to sign up and support it.
The list of supporting countries is growing but still well short of a majority.
With coordinated, concerted lobbying efforts by LGBT and human rights organisations we can persuade more countries to endorse this declaration.
Please redouble your efforts to get your local legislators and political leaders to press your government to declare its commitment to support the declaration – if it has not done so.
If your government has already announced its support for the declaration, please use whatever influence you can muster with neighbouring governments that have not yet signed up
Thank you and solidarity, Peter Tatchell, OutRage! London UK
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 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.
Activist Peter Tatchell explains the life-threatening situation for lesbian and gay people in Iran, during the BBC News – 12 March 2008 – item on gay asylum seeker, Mehdi Kazemi.
After the historical approval of the European Resolution on the case of Seyed Mehdi Kazemi (see below) the British Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, decided a few hours ago to suspend the procedure that would entail deportation to Iran for Mehdi Kazemi, the young Iranian gay, member of EveryOne Group (www.everyonegroup.com).
What happened today is the result of the international intervention which saw EveryOne Group with the Nonviolent Radical Party and the associations Nessuno Tocchi Caino and Certi Diritti on the front line.
“When we took on the task of trying to save Mehdi”, say the leaders of EveryOne Group, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, enthusiastically, “the young Iranian boy faced deportation and death on the scaffold in Iran. Then we and our allies found ourselves flanked by a network of solidarity which prevented yet another crime against human rights. It is the first step towards a society that is no longer indifferent, a society that is capable of respecting the rights of refugees who are the weakest link in humanity.
We have to express our deepest satisfaction at this important victory on the field of human rights, which has resulted in the saving of a human life and written an important page in European history: from now on the highest authorities will guarantee that in all the Member States Directive 2004/83/CE is applied, which calls for the recognition of refugee status also for people persecuted in their country of origin because of their sexual orientation.
“It is a triumph for human civilization”, conclude the leaders of EveryOne, “a prelude for our next campaigns, the aims of which are to safeguard refugees and other persecuted minorities.
While we celebrate the saving of a life, however, we must continue to fight so that nations travel along the road of human rights and abandon persecutions and injustices which are the legacy of ages we have to leave behind us.”
What does it mean when your very existence is criminalized? When you can be sentenced to death or prison just for being yourself? When stepping outside your house makes you a target for violence or for being picked up by police? While these scenarios might initially seem to be the stuff of Kafkaesque fantasy, in many parts of the world they constitute the daily reality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—a reality that is brutal and relentless—and worthy of attention on this International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2007.
Many of us responded with disbelief last September when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that there were no gay people in his country. But the Iranian President’s words betray a twisted truth. While there are plenty of LGBT Iranians, there is no public, visible gay presence in Iran. Because the penalty for same-sex conduct between men in Iran is death, gay life in Iran remains hidden, under threat of extermination. The execution just last week of Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year-old Iranian man accused of having sex with other young boys when he was 13 years old makes this point excruciatingly clear.
In other words, when your existence is criminalized, your human rights are compromised. Your rights to life, liberty and security of the person are eviscerated. Your privacy is a chimera. You don’t count.
And of course, this doesn’t just happen in Iran. More than 75 countries worldwide—from Afganistan to Zimbabwe, and from Sri Lanka to the Solomon Islands—still criminalize consensual same-sex relationships. Many of these laws are vestiges of colonial attempts to “civilize the savages.” In all countries, these laws are strictly oppositional to modern standards of human rights and respect for individual choice with regard to family, sexuality and relationships.
In Nigeria, homosexual acts can be punished by 14 years of imprisonment. And the situation for LGBT people in that country is grim. An activist living in northwest Nigeria says that she has “worked on a case of a transgender person who was picked up by police simply for being transgender… [and] helped a girl who was perceived by the community to be gay. She was beaten, raped and left unconscious.” In Nigeria, being gay means contending with a stark choice: hide who you are or become a target for violence and abuse.
Cameroon is another country where LGBT individuals experience consistent and severe human rights violations. Here more than 13 people have recently been detained under an article of the penal code that prohibits consensual same-sex sexual relationships between adults. On International Human Rights Day, various human rights organizations will stage demonstrations outside Cameroonian embassies in Paris, Pretoria and Washington, D.C., to protest that country’s treatment of LGBT citizens and those who stand in solidarity with them.
When your existence is criminalized, it is important that others stand in solidarity with you—both to protest injustice and to fight for a better world, one where people are treated with dignity, not distain.
International Human Rights Day marks the day in 1948 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This central global human rights principle states that, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” This year, International Human Rights Day also marks the start of Dignity and Justice for All, a yearlong United Nations campaign designed to emphasize the universality of human rights—a universality that has often felt lacking to LGBT communities.
Dignity and respect for LGBT people must start with each country abolishing laws that criminalize consensual relations between two men or two women. Without freedom from criminalization, all other freedoms for LGBT people are compromised. We must call on each nation to show their belief in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by repealing laws that are so clearly an affront to dignity and respect.
Iran, Iraq and that gay-hunt the Left keeps ignoring, The Cat’s Blog
By Gabriele Zamparini
From Iran to New Iraq
The horror Amerika brought to New Iraq has outshined the Third Reich’s. This is true for all Iraqis and particularly for Iraqi homosexuals, the most vulnerable and targeted community in New Iraq.
“The U.S, and other allied forces are doing nothing to stop the massacres of any ordinary Iraqi, not to mention the homosexuals, the most unpopular portion of Iraqi society under the new evil regime” recently said Ali Hili, a 34-year-old Iraqi exile now living in London.
Hili, who launched Iraqi LGBT in late 2005 “after hearing about the killing of so many of my friends”, also said: “Homosexuality was generally tolerated under Saddam. There certainly was no danger of gay people being assassinated in the street by police. Since his overthrow, the violent persecution of gays and lesbians is commonplace. Life in Iraq now is hell for all LGBT people; no one can be openly gay and alive.”
Long-time human rights activist Peter Tatchell wrote last year:
Two militias are doing most of the killing. They are the armed wings of major parties in the Bush and Blair-backed Iraqi government. Madhi is the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, and Badr is the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which is the leading political force in Baghdad’s government coalition. Both militias want to establish an Iranian-style religious dictatorship – or worse. Some of the anti-war left in Britain and the US support Muqtada al-Sadr, despite his goal of clerical fascism and his militia’s involvement in death squad killings. They hail him as a national resistance hero for fighting the US and UK occupation of Iraq; totally ignoring his militia’s sectarian murder of innocent Sunni Muslims, women and gay people. The allied occupation of Iraq is bad enough. But victory for the Madhi or Badr militias would result in a reign of religious terror many times worse. The execution of lesbian and gay Iraqis by Islamist death squads and militias is symptomatic of the fate that will befall all Iraqis if the fundamentalists continue to gain influence. The summary killing of queers is the canary in the mine – a warning of the barbarism to come (…) while Saddam was in power, discrete homosexuality was usually tolerated. There was certainly no danger of gay people being assassinated in the street by religious fanatics. Since his overthrow, the violent persecution of lesbians and gays is commonplace. It is actively encouraged by Iraq’s leading Muslim cleric, the British and US-backed Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In late 2005, he issued a fatwa ordering the execution of gay Iraqis. His followers in the Islamist militias are now systematically assassinating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as indicated by the following sample reports received from my clandestine Iraqi LGBT activist contacts inside Iraq… (Read more here)
The violence against Iraqi homosexuals has also been denounced by the United Nations. A Human Rights Report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) released in January reads:
Armed Islamic groups and militias have been known to be particularly hostile towards homosexuals, frequently and openly engaging in violent campaigns against them. There have been a number of assassinations of homosexuals in Iraq. (…) HRO [UNAMI Human Rights Office] was also alerted to the existence of religious courts, supervised by clerics, where homosexuals allegedly would be “tried,” “sentenced” to death and then executed.
About these “religious courts”, a note in the UN Report explains:
According to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, “the trials, presided over by young inexperienced clerics, are held (…) in ordinary halls. Gays and rapists face anything from 40 lashes to the death penalty.(…) One of the self-appointed judges in Sadr City, believes that homosexuality is on the wane in Iraq. “Most [gays] have been killed and others have fled,” he said. Indeed, the number who’ve sought asylum in the UK has risen noticeably over the last few months. (…) He insists the religious courts have a lot to be proud of, “We now represent a society that asked us to protect it not only from thieves and terrorists but also from these [bad] deeds.” Institute for War and Peace Reporting: Baghdad Gays Fear for Their Lives (20 October 2006), (http://www.iwpr.net)
The UN Report continues:
According to the Iraqi LGBT society, twenty-six of their members have been killed since 2003. This include the murders in 2006 of two minors, eleven-year-old Ameer and fourteen-year-old Ahmed, because of their alleged sexual orientation even though both were reportedly forced into child prostitution. Another two young women were murdered in Najaf also because of their allegedly sexual orientation. Allegedly, three Fatwas would have been issued by Islamic clerics authorising “good Muslims” to hunt and kill homosexuals.”
Independent journalist and long-time human rights activist Doug Ireland reported in January:
“The Badr Corps – the military arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the country’s most powerful Shiite political group – launched a campaign of “sexual cleansing,” marshaling death squads to exterminate homosexuality, following a “death to gays” fatwa issued in October 2005 by the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the 77-year-old chief spiritual leader of all Iraqi Shia Muslims, to whom the SCIRI and the Badr Corps owe total allegiance. Late last year, the Badr Corps – whose members up until then had been paid their salaries by Iran – was integrated into the Iraqi national police under the Ministry of the Interior, and its death squad members now have full police powers and wear police uniforms, which they don to carry out murders of gays. Death squads of the Mahdi Army, the armed militia under the control of fundamentalist Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr, have also carried out assassinations of gays.”
Persecuted by the new regime installed by the Amerikan Occupation and supported by the Iranian theocracy, Iraqi homosexuals can be persecuted, tortured and killed openly and freely in New Iraq.
Disgracefully too many Western minds, both pro and against the war, have this queer idea that this is the norm in Middle East countries. The pro-war nuts tell us that we cannot blame the US-led war of aggression against Iraq for causing this horror against Iraq’s homosexuals; as the many other horrors in New Iraq, we are told Iraqis, their culture and their sectarianism are to blame. The anti-war folks instead tell us that we can blame neither New Iraq’s sectarianism nor Iran for its nefarious role in New Iraq; we are told these horrors are exaggerated and in any case we must understand a different culture without demonizing it.
I believe all these arguments – when not the fruit of homophobia, still very present among us, even in the so-called “Left” – are the result of hypocrisy and racism, both when they come from the pro-war side and when they come from well-intentioned anti-war folks.
First of all, the horror Iraqi homosexuals have been forced to live is not the norm in Middle East countries and certainly it was not the norm in pre-invaded and pre-occupied Iraq. That horror stems directly from the supreme international crime, the war of aggression waged by Amerika and its allies.
“The US has unleashed bloodshed in Iraq that is rarely known even in countries we think of as violent and torn by civil strife. It is amazing to think that this has occurred in what was only recently a liberal and civilized country by the region’s standards. This was a country that had a problem with immigration, particularly among the well-educated and talented classes. They went to Iraq because it was the closest Arab proxy to Western-style society that one could find in the area. It was the US that turned this country into a killing field”, wrote this past September Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., the president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a research and educational center of classical liberalism, libertarian political theory, and the Austrian School of economics.
Now the mass murderers of the Badr Corps and the Mahdi Army, responsible of huge crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing against the Iraqi people, are the Amerika’s New Iraq’s “security forces”. As for the puppet, sectarian New Iraqi government, both the Badr Corps and the Mahdi Army have the full support of Iran, whose fanatic regime likes to see homosexuals tortured and hanged.
The Iranian connection to the many horrors inflicted upon the Iraqi people is indeed the Grand Taboo in many quarters on the “Left” and within what is known as “the anti-war movement”. Besides the guilty ignorance, the immoral denials, the hypocritical justifications and the opportunistic explanations of activists and intellectuals who prefer to close both their eyes or to look through the deforming lenses of their arrogance or indifference, there is one argument that instead deserves much more serious consideration.
This argument warns us that we must be very careful not to play into the warmongers’ hands and fall in the human rights trap now that Iran would be under Amerika’s military threat. This is a very serious argument and certainly human rights have been used to sell wars, imperialism and colonialism to the Western audiences, from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan and Iraq, from the White House to Human Rights Watch.
But can this argument justify the silence over ethnic cleansing and massive crimes against humanity committed by the pro-Iranian Iraqi government installed by the Amerikan occupation and its sectarian militias, the Badr Corps and the Mahdi Army, supported, trained and funded by Iran? Can this argument justify the silence over the devastating role Iran has had in the annihilation of Iraq? Should we ignore the many cries for help coming from Iraq? Should we ignore the truth?
Not only have many on the so-called “Left” and in what is known as the “anti-war movement” been ignoring those cries, lying and spreading conspiracy theories on the responsibilities of heinous crimes, denigrating those few people within the movement who have been trying to highlight the truth from the beginning, they have also been actively supporting the pro-Iranian factions within Iraq responsible for those heinous crimes. In most cases, the result has been to hijack the Left and the anti-war movement toward a sectarian direction, spreading propaganda and helping the infamous Amerikan project known as the “political process”. Influential intellectuals, activists and “anti-war” organizations have contributed to manufacture this consent around the New Iraq, its Quisling government and those sectarian militias responsible, together with the Amerikan occupation, for reducing Iraq into a wilderness.
Iran: Young Man Executed for Alleged Sex Crime
For Immediate Release
Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC Communications Coordinator, 212-430-6016
(New York, Wednesday December 5, 2007) – The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has learned today that despite an order by the Iranian Chief Justice to nullify his death sentence, Mr. Makvan Mouloodzadeh was executed in Kermanshah Central Prison at 5 a.m. this morning, Iranian time. Neither Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s family or his lawyer were told about the execution until after it occurred. IGLHRC is still investigating the facts in this case.
“This is a shameful and outrageous travesty of justice and international human rights law,” said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s executive director. “How many more young Iranians have to die before the international community takes action?”
Mr. Mouloodzadeh was a 21-year-old Iranian citizen who was accused of committing anal rape (ighab) with other young boys when he was 13 years old. However, at Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s trial, 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. On June 7, 2007, the Seventh District Criminal Court of Kermanshah in Western Iran found him guilty and sentenced him to death. Despite his lawyer’s appeal, the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence on August 1, 2007. The case caused an international uproar, and prompted a letter writing campaign by IGLHRC and similar actions by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Outrage! and Everyone Group.
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 of Mr. Mouloodzadeh. In his November 10, 2007 opinion (1/86/8607), 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.
In accordance with Iranian legal procedure, Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s case was sent to the Special Supervision Bureau of the Iranian Justice Department, a designated group of judges who are responsible for reviewing and ordering retrials of flawed cases flagged by the Iranian Chief Justice. However, in defiance of the Chief Justice, the judges decided to ratify the original court’s ruling and ordered the local authorities to carry out the execution.
Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s execution came days after a panel at the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.
You can read IGLHRC’s action alert on our website:
Our Letter to the Iranian authorities is also posted on our website in both English and Persian:
Iran: State Murder For Sex at 13
The Tragic Case of Makwan Moloudzadeh by Doug Ireland
IRAN, YOUNG GAY MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH
EVERYONE GROUP: “WE ONLY HAVE A FEW HOURS TO SAVE MAKWAN’S LIFE”
THE SENTENCE FOR THE 21-YEAR-OLD HOMOSEXUAL WAS SUSPENDED TWO WEEKS AGO AFTER THE INTERNATIONAL “FLOWERS FOR LIFE IN IRAN” CAMPAIGN CARRIED OUT BY “EVERYONE”. THE CASE HOWEVER HAS BEEN RE-EXAMINED BY THE IRANIAN JUDGES AND THE SENTENCE CONFIRMED. THE EXECUTION HAS BEEN FIXED FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS. HIS FAMILY’S DESPERATE APPEAL: “SAVE OUR MAKWAN”.
GRUPPO EVERYONE CALLS ON THE IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION OF THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, AS WELL AS ALL CIVILIZED SOCIETY, AND LAUNCHES THE CAMPAIGN “HEARTS FOR MAKWAN’S LIFE”
Makwan Moloudzadeh is 21-years-old (he was born on March 31st, 1986) and he was sentenced to death for the crime of “lavat” (sodomy) according to the Iranian Criminal Code that foresees the death penalty. According to the motivation adopted by the Iranian Government, the young man, at the age of 13 had sexual intercourse with another boy.
Makwan, who was the object of the international campaign “Flowers for live in Iran” initiated by Gruppo EveryOne (www,everyonegroup.com) – with hundreds of red and white roses being sent to President Ahmadinejad, and the mobilization of liberal and progressive Islam – had obtained on November 15th of this year, the suspension of the death sentence by the Iranian Head of Judiciary, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi. The judge had defined the sentence – first issued last June 7th by the Criminal Court of Kermanshah, in West Iran and later confirmed on August 1st – “a violation of Islamic precepts and human ethics”
This evening, December 3rd Makwan’s family phoned Ahmad Rafat, a journalist of AKI – ADN Kronos International and member of the EveryOne Group, and gave the alarm: Makwan’s case has been re-examined by the Judiciary Authority of Teheran, and yesterday, Sunday December 2nd, the dramatic sentence reached Kermanshah prison, where the young man has been held for some time.
“There is a need for immediate international protest action from the Italian Goverment, the European Parliament and civilized society. We have to make Iran listen to our request for Marwan to be spared. Marwan is innocent, he has been sentenced to death for his homosexuality”. This is the appeal launched by Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, the leaders of the EveryOne Group, which recently fought this year to prevent the deportation from Great Britain of the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakhsh. “We hoped Iran would show some compassion for Marwan” they continue “but the campaign for Makwan’s life carried out by thousands of GLBT activists all over the world has been ignored. We are also amazed at how some people, even in the international press, defined Makwan a “child offender”, when he was only a child himself when he loved a boy of the same age.”
“Makwan’s family are distraught” says Ahmad Rafat of EveryOne. “Any day now could be Makwan’s last, because the Iranian judges only notify the time and place of the prisoner’s execution the night before it takes place.” EveryOne Group asks everyone to send postcards, letters and e-mails to the Minister of Justice and the Iranian President. On every postcard draw a heart with the words “We love Makwan. Makwan is innocent and must be spared”. A campaign of love, launched by EveryOne Group, because in Iran those people who love in a different way – gays and lesbians – are considered criminals who are given the harshest sentences, and are sometimes even sentenced to death.
“We don’t have long” say the leaders of EveryOne. “Act immediately, ask friends and acquaintances to send the Iranian authorities as many letters and postcards as possible because the judges and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran must know they are killing an innocent person – that every year they imprison, torture and kill thousands of innocent people.”
For the EveryOne Group: Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Ahmad Rafat, Glenys Robinson, Arsham Parsi, Christos Papaioannou, Steed Gamero, Fabio Patronelli, Laura Todisco, Alessandro Matta
For further information:
(+ 39) 334-8429527
Send postcards, letters, fax and e-mails to:
Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Panzdah Khordad (Ark) Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
(In the subject line: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Fax: 011 98 21 3390 4986
(If the call is not answered first time, please keep trying. When it is answered, say “fax please”.)
Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader Islamic Republic Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
President His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: 011 98 21 6 649 5880
E-mail: via web: http://www.president.ir/
Speaker of Parliament
His Excellency Gholamali Haddad Adel Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami
Baharestan Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: 011 98 21 3355 6408
Majlis-e Shoura-e Islami’s President (Islamic Assembly):
Embassy of Iran in UK
Ambassy of Iran in Turkey
Tehran Street, No.10 Davaklidere, Ankara – Turkey P.O.Box: 33
Fax +90-312 4632823
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Informations in Italian : La Manica Tagliata
Iran: Prevent Execution of Juvenile Offender – Scott Long, Human Rights Watch
Iran: Makwan Moloudzadeh Was Executed in Kermanshah Central Prison at 5 a.m. This Morning, December 5