Archive for the ‘Sharia’ Category

Iran: Stop Executions for Sodomy Charges

Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Iranian Queers Organization (IRQO) and COC Netherlands in calling on Iranian authorities to stop the numerous executions of minors and adults accused of sodomy. Also join us in calling on Western countries with significant diplomatic and economic ties to Iran, including Germany, France, Canada, as well as the European Union, to pursue diplomatic efforts to cease these executions.

Use our electronic system below to send a letter in English to the foreign officials and another letter in Persian to Iranian officials.

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The Issue

The courts in Iran have sentenced a number of men to death after they were accused and convicted of sodomy. Under Iranian law, sodomy includes sexual intercourse between members of the same sex, and is illegal. The punishment for same-sex intercourse between two men (Lavaat) is death and between two women (Mosaheghe) is 100 lashes for the first three offenses and the death penalty for the fourth.

Most, if not all of these arbitrary executions orders follow rushed trials with little adherence to procedure. Judges overseeing sodomy cases often ignore the strict guidelines of the Iranian Penal Code, and instead use questionable investigative methods and inadmissible evidence to decide the case. Frequently, the convictions are based on forced confessions, made under extreme psychological pressure and torture. Additionally, at least three lawyers who have defended people accused of sodomy have expressed fear of harassment and intimidation by the government and vigilantes. The courts do not allow independent observers to examine cases. Such practices violate the defendants’ human rights to a fair trial, free from torture.

In most cases, the Court convicts the defendants of sodomy charges solely on the basis of “the knowledge of the judge”. According to Iranian law, when there is not enough evidence to convict a defendant of a sexual crime, the judge may use his knowledge, in a deductive process based on the evidence that already exists, to determine whether the crime took place or not. Unfortunately, the excessive use of this principle means that rather than paying attention to evidence, the judge often sentences defendants to death based on his speculations. A number of prominent legal and religious scholars believe that such a broad application of the “the knowledge of the judge” to issue death penalty for sexual crimes is in violation of the letter and the spirit of Sharia law.

Regardless of the procedural errors of the trials, Iran’s practice of punishing sexual crimes such as sodomy with the death penalty is cruel, disproportionate to the nature of the crime, and inherently arbitrary under international law. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has stated that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a party, applying the death penalty for ‘homosexual acts’ violates Article 6, and that criminalization of private sexual relations between consenting adults is contrary to Articles 17 and 26. Additionally, the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions has expressed concern numerous times about the use of the death penalty for consensual sodomy and has stated that criminalizing sodomy “increases the social stigmatization of members of sexual minorities, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to violence and human rights abuses, including violations of the right to life.”

Alarmingly, some of the defendants sentenced to death were tried for sexual acts they were accused of committing as minors. Article 111 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code states that, “Sodomy is only punishable by death if both parties are adults and of sound mind” and Article 6(5) of the ICCPR states that “[A] sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” Thus, neither Iranian law nor international law permits the execution of these young men.
Background

The following sodomy cases have been brought in the Iranian judicial system within the past three years. We are still investigating other possible cases in which men have been charged with sodomy, convicted, and sentenced to death.

1. Ghaseem Bashkool, son of AzizAllah and born in 1984, was arrested along with another young man on May 31, 2007 on charges of sodomy. Both men were convicted despite an absence of credible evidence, and sentenced to death. At the time of the arrest, Qhassem was a third-year student of applied mathematics, but following his arrest, he was expelled from the university. The negative publicity around his case also took a toll on his family, causing them great social and economic hardship.

The First District of the Criminal Court of the Ardabil province found both men guilty of sodomy and sentenced them to death. In February 2009, an open letter surfaced on the Internet in which he pleaded for his life. In his letter, Ghassem insisted that the sodomy allegation was baseless and that in the absence of any credible evidence, the judge had referred to the “knowledge of the judge” as the basis of his ruling. At the time of the writing of the letter, Ghassem had spent 20 months in Ardebil prison.

Despite repeated efforts by a number of lawyers and human rights defenders inside Iran to investigate the situation, it currently remains unclear.

2. In February 2009, an informed source at the Fars Province Bar Association confirmed that the Fourth District of the Criminal Court in the Fars Province had convicted a man of sodomy and, in accordance with Article 110 of the Islamic Penal Code, had sentenced him to the death penalty, which would be administered by throwing him off a cliff.

Following the gruesome ruling of the Court, the accuser decided to withdraw his complaint and asked the Court to close the case. Instead, the Court ruled that the public aspect of the case (in the Court’s language, “the violation of the divine law”), forces the Court to prosecute the defendant regardless of the accuser’s demand. However, in the absence of the private complaint, the Court ordered a retrial and that the earlier ruling to be nullified.

We are still in the process of gathering information regarding the current status of the ruling and the defendant.

3. On Aug 9, 2008, the Iranian reformist newspaper Kargozaran, which was later shut down by the government, reported on the conviction of 4 young men in Tabriz (North-Western Iran) for sodomy. According to the report, Mahdi Pooran (17-years-old), Hamid Taghi, Ebrahim Hamidi, and Mehdi Rezaii were found guilty of sodomy by the Second District Criminal Court of Tabriz in July 2008, and were sentenced to death. The case was based on a complaint by a 19-year old man with a history of family feuds with the defendants, Hojat, who accused the defendants of physical and sexual assault. Although Hojat consistently told the court that he had no witness for his alleged rape, in the last session of the court he introduced 3 of his male relatives as witnesses to the rape. Given the absence of 4 male witnesses, the Court’s ruling was based on the “knowledge of the judge.”

The prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaii, who represented the four defendants, believes his clients were framed. In a post to his blog, he says that following a fist fight between his clients and a group of four young men who trespassed and were damaging a piece of land owned by Ebrahim’s father, the police intervened and arrested his clients, accusing them of gang-rape. Since his clients declared their innocence, the police officials started beating and torturing them for 3 days, hoping that at least one of them would confess to the sexual act. After 3 days, the police referred the case to the court as a sodomy rape case.

After the initial hearing, the court ordered the release of the men on $10,000 bail, but it took the defendants 28 days to provide the bail and get out of jail. Fifty-five days later, during the trial, the Deputy District Attorney requested the death penalty for the defendants. The court sentenced all defendants to death penalty, which will be carried out after approval by the Iranian Supreme Court at an unspecified time.

4. In February 2008, reports surfaced of the arrest of two young men, Hamze Chavoshi (19 years old) and Loghman Hamzepour (18 years old), in the Kurdish city of Sardasht in Western Iran. Both men were accused of sodomy. Their current status is under investigation.

5. Sources have informed us that a Court in Shiraz found Mohsen Ghabraii guilty of sodomy and sentenced him to death. Despite his lawyer’s appeal, his death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court and it will be carried out soon. Mohsen, who at the time of the alleged crime was a minor, has pleaded not guilty and has insisted on his innocence ever since.

6. Nemat Safavi, now 19 years old, was arrested in June 2006 at age 16 for alleged sodomy. According to reports in 2008, the Criminal Court in Ardebil sentenced him to death. Nemat was first sent to a juvenile detention center and was later admitted to the young adult prison facility in Ardebil, waiting for his death sentence to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

According to an investigation performed by the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) in November 2009, the Supreme Court overturned Nemat’s death sentence on March 4, 2009 and sent the case to another criminal court in Ardebil for retrial. Efforts are currently underway to provide Nemat with a defense lawyer who can convince the court of his innocence and prevent another death sentence for him.

Send a message
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Contact Information

Please use the Persian text below, based on the English sample letter, and write to Iranian officials to ask them to use their authority to stop the pending executions on sodomy charges and to put an end to criminalizing same-sex intercourse. We also request that you use the English sample letter to write the Western governments with diplomatic and economic ties to Iran, urging them to pressure Iran to end the killing of its citizens for sodomy convictions.

Please send the letter below in Persian to:

Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei
info@leader.ir
istiftaa@leader.ir
Chief Justice of Iran, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani
Larijani@Dadgostary-tehran.ir
Foreign Minister of Iran, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki
matbuat@mfa.gov.ir

Please send the English letter to the following European authorities:

The Presidency of the European Union, Swedish Prime Minister Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt
roberta.alenius@primeminister.ministry.se
registrator@primeminister.ministry.se
Foreign Minister of Sweden, Ms. Carl Bildt
registrator@foreign.ministry.se
carl.bildt@foreign.ministry.se
Foreign Minister of Germany, Dr Guido Westerwelle
guido.westerwelle@bundestag.de
guido.westerwelle@auswaertiges-amt.de
Foreign Minister of France, Dr Bernard Kouchner
bernard.kouchner@diplomatie.gouv.fr
Canadian Foreign Mistier, Honorable Lawrence Cannon
l.cannon@international.gc.ca

Please send a copy of your letters to:

IGLHRC
communications+action.alert@iglhrc.org

Sample English Letter to European Officials

Your Excellency:

I am writing to request an immediate intervention to save the lives of a number of Iranian men, including minors and people who were minors at the time the alleged crimes occurred, who are currently in detention after having been convicted of sodomy and sentenced to death. These men include Ghaseem Bashkool, Mahdi Pooran, Hamid Taghi, Ebrahim Hamidi, Mehdi Rezaii, Hamze Chavoshi, Loghman Hamzepour, Mohsen Ghabraii, and Nemat Safavi (see appendix for more information about their cases).

As you know, Iran has one of the highest rates of execution in the world. Imposing the death penalty for sexual crimes is a cruel and unusual form of punishment, which violates international human rights law. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has stated that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a party, that applying the death penalty for ‘homosexual acts’ violates Article 6, and that criminalization of private sexual relations between consenting adults is contrary to Articles 17 and 26. Additionally, the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions has expressed concern numerous times about the use of the death penalty for consensual sodomy and has stated that criminalizing sodomy “increases the social stigmatization of members of sexual minorities, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to violence and human rights abuses, including violations of the right to life.”

Over the past three decades, the Iranian authorities have persecuted many of their citizens for sodomy, a crime that the Iranian Penal Code states is punishable by death. Unfortunately, the sodomy law has been frequently used to punish minors and consenting adults who were privately involved in same-sex practices, and those who have never been involved in such practices.

Although the Iranian Penal Code is very strict about the level of evidence required to prove sodomy, including a requirement of the testimony of four, reliable, male witnesses who have seen the sexual act and are able and willing to testify before the court, the courts often rely on inadmissible or unreliable methods. These methods frequently include forced confession under severe physical and psychological pressure or torture, the speculation of the judge (known as the “knowledge of the judge”), forced medical exams, and reports by informers.

The defendants are denied fair and open trials; due to the taboo nature of sexual crimes, lawyers, human rights activists and reporters find it next to impossible to advocate on behalf of the defendants. Furthermore, the Iranian judicial system does not allow independent observers to examine the outcome of the courts and those who dare to advocate for the defendants are often harassed by the government and vigilantes.

The lack of transparency and due process for defendants, the imposition of the death penalty for minors, and the frequent violations of strict guidelines of the Iranian Penal Code for trying sexual crimes demonstrate the fundamentally unjust nature and implementation of the sodomy law in Iran. Regardless of the sexual orientation and gender identity of these individuals, the Iranian government should not murder its own citizens based on allegations of sexual behaviors that are nearly impossible to prove under Iranian legal standards.

I strongly urge you and your government to use your diplomatic influence on Iran to stop the pending executions of the minor and adult men already convicted of sodomy.

Respectfully,

Name:
Organization:
Country:

محضر مبارک حضرت آیت الله سید علی خامنه ای، مقام معظم رهبری جمهوری اسلامی ایران،

پس از عرض سلام و تقدیم احترامات فائقه، محترما به استحضار حضرتعالی میرساند که غرض از نگارش این نامه، تقاضای تجدیدنظر در پرونده تعدادی از شهروندان نوجوان و جوان ایرانی است که طی سنوات گذشته در دادگاه متهم به عمل لواط شده و از سوی مقامات قوه محترمه قضاییه به اعدام محکوم گردیده اند.

نکته قابل توجه در اکثر پرونده های ذیل این است که، قضات محترم دادگاه بر خلاف نص مواد 114 تا 126 قانون مجازات اسلامی، و تنها با استناد به اعترافات اولیه متهمان که در زمان بازپرسی و تحت آزار و اذیت صورت میگیرد و یا به استناد ادعای شاکی (و بدون داشتن 4 شاهد عادل) ، حکم اعدام متهمان را صادر مینمایند. این در حالی است که مطابق ماده 116 قانون مجازات اسلامی، در مورد لواط ” اقرار در صورتي نافذ است كه اقرار كننده بالغ ، عاقل ، مختار و داراي قصد باشد .” مضافا اینکه ماده 118 قانون مجازات اسلامی مقرر میدارد که ” با شهادت كمتر از ‌چهار مرد عادل لواط ثابت نميشود و شهود به قذف محكوم ميشوند‌”.

بعلاوه مکررا مشاهده گردیده است که در غیاب ادله کافی، دادگاه “علم قاضی” را مبنای صدور حکم اعدام برای محکومین به لواط قرار میدهد. هرچند در پرونده های مرتبط با لواط، علم قاضی میتواند بعنوان ادله مورد استناد قرار گیرد، ماده 120 قانون مجازات اسلامی مقرر میدارد که علم قاضی باید “از طرق متعارف حاصل شود”. با توجه به فقدان مدارک و شواهد در این پرونده ها، معلوم نیست قضات محترم از کدام طریق متعارفی علم خود را بدست آورده اند.

از جمله این پرونده های اعدام، میتوان به موارد زیر اشاره نمود:

1. آقای قاسم بشکول فرزند عزیزالله متولد 1363 که در تاریخ 10/3/1386 با قرار بازداشت از سوی شعبه‌ی یک کیفری استان اردبیل به اتهام لواط به عنف روانه‌ی زندان اردبیل شد. قاضی محترم پرونده، آقای بشکول و دوست وی را علی رغم عدم وجود ادله متقن به اتهام “لواط به عنف” به اعدام محکوم نمود و متهمان پرونده اکنون در زندان بسربرده و در صورت عدم الغای حکم اعدامشان، به طناب دار آویخته خواهند شد.

2. مطابق مندرجات نشریه اینترنتی “روز آنلاین” در اول اسفند سال 1387 ، شعبه چهارم دادگاه کيفري استان فارس، فردی را بدلیل ارتکاب عمل لواط به اعدام از طریق پرتاب از کوه محکوم نمود. متعاقب باخبر شدن شاکي پرونده از چنين حکمي، وی رسما اعلام نمود که موضوع شکايتش به کلي منتفي بوده و ‏ ضمن رضايت دادن، درخواست مختومه کردن پرونده را مي نماید. اما دادگاه محترم با این ادله که با توجه به جنبه حق الهي در پرونده لواط، ‏رضايت شاکي برای مختومه نمودن پرونده کافي نيست، حکم به اعاده دادرسي این پرونده مینماید.‏ پرونده مذکور علیرغم وجود شاکی خصوصی همچنان مفتوح بوده و متهم همچنان در انتظار حکم دادگاه میباشد.

3. قضات محترم شعبه دوم دادگاه كيفري استان آذربايجان شرقي چهار نفر به نامهاي حميد طاقی، ابراهيم حمیدی، مهدي پوران (که مطابق اتهامات وارده در زمان ارتکاب عمل 17 سال بیشتر نداشته) و محمد رضایی را به اتهام لواط به استناد علم قاضي در خرداد ماه سال هشتاد و هفت به اعدام محكوم نمودند . متهمین فوق الذکر در حال حاضر در زندان تبریز بوده ودر انتظار تقاضای تجدید نظر در حکم صادره از سوی دیوان عالی کشور به سر میبرند.

مطابق اظهارات وکیل متهمین، این چهار نفر ساعاتی پس از درگیری با چهار جوان که مشغول تخريب زمين كشاورزي متعلق به پدر ابراهيم بودند، از سوی نیروهای انتظامی دستگیر شدند. دستگیری متهمان پس از آن صورت گرفت که جوان 19 ساله‌ای به نام حجت ، که یکی از افراد مشغول به تخریب زمین کشاورزی و دارای سابقه دشمنی خانوادگی با متهمین بود، با مراجعه به پلیس مدعی شد كه این چهار نفر با او درگیرشده و سپس به او تعرض جنسی كرده‌اند. آقایان طاقی، حمیدی، پوران و رضایی میگویند ماموران پلیس سه روز آنها را در کلانتری محل مورد شکنجه و ضرب و شتم قرار دادند تا آنها به “عمل لواط” اعتراف کنند. نیروهای انتظامی حتی پیشنهاد دادند که ” اگر يك نفر از شما اين كار را گردن بگيرد يك نفر شما به زندان خواهد رفت و بقيه شما آزاد می شوید “. علیرغم تداوم ضرب و شتم و فشار پلیس، هیچ یک از دستگیر شدگان به انجام عمل لواط اعتراف ننمودند.

دادگاه ابتدایی با صدور قرار 10 ميليون توماني به عنوان وثيقه برای آزادی موقت متهمین موافقت مینماید، اما چهار متهم نامبرده بدلیل نداشتن مبلغ لازم 28 روز را در زندان سپری نمودند. در تاريخ 20/3/87 دادگاه رسیدگی به این پرونده تشکیل جلسه داد و متهمان پرونده بر بیگناهی خود تاکید کردند. اما معاون دادستان بر اساس اتهام عمل لواط، برای متهمین تقاضای اعدام کرد.

شعبه دوم دادگاه كيفري استان آذربايجان شرقي پس از گذشت سه ماه از تشكيل پرونده با استناد به علم قاضي در تاریخ 30/4/1387حكم به اعدام اين چهار نفر داده است. به گفته وکیل پرونده، شاکی در تمام مراحل دادرسی اعلام کرده بود که شاهدی برای اثبات ادعای خود ندارد ، ولی وی در آخرین جلسه دادگاه سه نفر از اقوام خود را به عنوان شاهد معرفی و آنها نیز شهادت کذب به زیان متهمان پرونده می دهند.

4. در بهمن ماه سال 1377 دوجوان به نامهاي “حمزه چاوي” 19 ساله و “لقمان حمزه پور” 18 ساله در شهرستان سردشت به دليل ارتکاب لواط بازداشت شدند و متاسفانه تا کنون از وضعیت آنها اطلاعی در دست نیست.

5. مطابق اطلاع ما، محسن قبرایی، نوجوان شیرازی از سوی دادگاه به اتهام انجام عمل لواط به اعدام محکوم گردید و مدتی پیش نیز حکم اعدام وی از سوی دیوان عالی کشور تنفیذ گردید. وی همواره بر بیگناهی خود اصرار داشته و حتی مطابق پرونده دادگاه، اتهام لواط وی به زمانی برمیگردد که وی هنوز به سن بلوغ نرسیده بود. با اینهمه چنانچه حکم دادگاه نقض نشود، محسن بزودی اعدام خواهد شد.

6. آقای نعمت صفوي ، فرزند اکبر و متولد سال 1368 هجری خورشیدی، در سال 1385 در سن 16 سالگي به دليل ارتکاب عمل لواط بازداشت و پس از محاکمه در دادگاه اطفال از سوي دادگستري اردبيل به اعدام محکوم گرديد . پس از بیش از32 ماه حبس، سرانجام در تاریخ 14 اسفند سال 1387 دیوان عالی کشور حکم اعدام وی را رد نمود و پرونده وی اکنون برای اعاده دادرسی به شعبه هم ارز اعاده شده است. پرونده آقای صفوی، هنوز مفتوح بوده و احتمال محکومیت اعدام وی بدلیل اتهام لواط در زمانی که وی هنوز به سن بلوغ نرسیده بود، وجود دارد.

رهبر معظم نظام جمهوری اسلامی،

حضرتعالی بعنوان بالاترین مقام سیاسی و مذهبی در ایران، میتوانید از اختیارات قانونی و حقوقی خود استفاده کرده و تقاضای تعلیق یا تنسیخ احکام دادگاه را نموده، یا خواستار اعاده دادرسی در این موارد گردید. ما از آن مقام معظم صمیمانه تقاضا داریم که از قدرت قانونی خود بهره جسته و جان این شهروندان بیگناه را از خطر مرگ نجات دهد.

بعقیده ما مجازات اعدام، خصوصا در موارد مربوط به تجاوز به عنف، مجازاتی ناعادلانه و نامتناسب با ماهیت جنحه است. مطابق نظر کمیسیون حقوق بشر سازمان ملل متحد، کشتن افراد بدلیل انجام عمل همجنسگرایانه { که در قوانین جزایی ایران از آن بعنوان لواط نام برده میشود} نقض ماده 6 ميثاق بين المللي حقوق مدني و سياسي میباشد. بعلاوه کمیسیون حقوق بشر سازمان ملل مقرر میدارد که قتل کسانی که عاقل و بالغ بوده و با اختیار تام خود در خلوت با یکدیگر رابطه همجنسگرایانه برقرار میکنند، ناقض ماده 17 و 26 کنوانسیون فوق میباشد. ماده 9 قانون مدني جمهوری اسلامی ایران مقرر میدارد که « مقررات عهودي كه بر طبق قانون اساسي بين دولت ايران و ساير دول منعقد شده باشد در حكم قانون است». از آنجا که ميثاق ياد شده در سال 1354 به تصويب مجلس شورای ملی رسيده و تاكنون نيز قانوني مخالف با اين بند ميثاق وضع نشده، حکم اعدام برای عمل لواط، هم ناقض ميثاق بين المللي حقوق مدني و سياسي و هم ناقض قانون مدنی جمهوری اسلامی ایران است .

در برخی از موارد فوق، متهمان پرونده ، بدلیل ارتکاب عملی که بعنوان یک طفل و قبل از رسیدن به سن بلوغ صورت گرفته است به اعدام محکوم گردیده اند. این امر خلاف مقررات حقوقی وبین المللی است. ماده 49 قانون مجازات اسلامی مقرر میدارد که ” اطفال درصورت ارتكاب جرم مبري از مسووليت كيفري هستند”. مطابق بند 5 ماده 6 ميثاق بين المللي حقوق مدني و سياسي: «حكم مجازات مرگ نبايد براي جرم‌هايي كه افراد زير 18 سال مرتكب شده اند صادر شود». ماده 9 قانون مدني جمهوری اسلامی ایران مقرر میدارد که « مقررات عهودي كه بر طبق قانون اساسي بين دولت ايران و ساير دول منعقد شده باشد در حكم قانون است». از آنجا که ميثاق ياد شده در سال 1354 به تصويب مجلس شورای ملی رسيده و تاكنون نيز قانوني مخالف با اين بند ميثاق وضع نشده، بنابر اين حکم اعدام اطفال زیر 18 سال، هم ناقض ميثاق بين المللي حقوق مدني و سياسي و هم ناقض قانون مدنی جمهوری اسلامی ایران است .

جدای از قوانین و تعهدات بین المللی که جمهوری اسلامی ایران بدانها پایبند است ، بسیاری از علمای معظم شیعه، از جمله آیات اعظام صانعی و محقق داماد، حکم مجازات اعدام برای جرایم جنسی را در زمان غیبت امام معصوم لازم الاجرا نمی دانند.

پیشاپیش از مساعدت معظم له برای حل عاجل این پرونده ها سپاسگذارم و عاجزانه خواهشمندم ترتیبی اتخاذ فرمایید تا در آینده نزدیک شاهد لغو مجازات اعدام برای همه جرایم جنسی، خصوصا عمل لواط، باشیم.

با تقدیم احترامات فائقه

رونوشت:

– حضرت آیت الله آملی لاریجانی ریاست محترم قوه قضائیه جمهوری اسلامی ایران

– جناب آقاي منوچهر متكي وزير محترم امور خارجه جمهوري اسلامي ايران

No Sharia rally in London
Oppose all religious laws & courts

Call for secularism & universal human rights

London – 21 November 2009

Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims joined forces in London to protest against Sharia and against all religious laws and courts.

The themes of the protest were “one law for all” and “universal human rights.”

Expressing solidarity with Muslims resisting the “inequalities and inhumanities” of Sharia law, the protesters affirmed their commitment to democracy, secularism, equality and human rights.

The rally took place in Hyde Park today, Saturday 21 November 2009

Among those addressing the crowds were speakers from Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and the UK. They expressed solidarity with Muslim communities worldwide and condemned racist, anti-Muslim far right and fascist groups.

“Sharia law is a form of religious dogma and tyranny. It is homophobic, sexist and anti-democratic. It persecutes LGBT Muslims. Same-sex acts carry the death penalty in several Islamic states. Gay people can be stoned to death or hanged in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. We support LGBT Muslims – and all Muslims – who are fighting for their freedom,” said Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group OutRage! and Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East.

“This protest supports secular democracy. Secularism is often confused with anti-clericalism. The two are not the same. Secularism is not against religion per se. It is against giving religion privileged status, rights and protections.

“We believe there should be a separation of religion from the state. No faith should dominate any government and seek to impose its creed on the rest of society. When this happens, freedom of expression is diminished and minority faiths are victimised.

“For these reasons, secularism is not only an important element of freedom of expression. It is also the best guarantee of religious freedom, as it prevents any one faith becoming politically dominant and abusing its powers to oppress people of other faiths,” Mr Tatchell added.

Lib Dem MP Evan Harris condemned the government for “caving in to religious pressure.” He cited the way Britain’s equality laws allow religious bodies to discriminate against LGBT people and people in certain circumstances. Mr Harris also condemned the government for giving privileged advisory status on policy and legislation to often unrepresentative faith leaders.

Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union warned that over 50 Islamic states, with the support of many developing countries, are currently “demanding that the United Nations outlaw the defamation of religion.” This would restrict free speech by criminalising criticism and condemnation of religious beliefs and institutions, he said.

A speaker from Iraq, Issam Shukri, told the rally how Islamist militias linked to the cleric and MP Muqtada al-Sadr had executed dozens of women who they deemed to be improperly dressed because were not fully covered head-to-toe. These militias have also organised death squad executions of LGBT Iraqis.

Maryan Namazie, the rally organiser, told the crowd:

“Our rally is being held to mark Universal Children’s Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. We are not defending western values. We are defending universal humanitarian values. Sharia adversely affects the rights, lives and freedoms of countless human beings across the world. Opposing Sharia law is a crucial step in defending universal equal rights and secularism, and showing real solidarity with people living under and resisting Sharia.”

Philosopher AC Grayling warned that Sharia law was an attack on precious, hard-won, civil liberties. It was a threat to freedom of speech, freedom of belief and freedom of conscience, he said.

Rahila Gupta from Southall Black Sisters highlighted the way religion and cultural tradition are often anti-women and homophobic. She urged solidarity with women resisting patriarchal clericalism and demanded equal rights for women, whatever their cultural, ethnic or religious background.

Excerpts from Peter Tatchell’s speech at the Hyde Park rally:

“We are here to defend Muslim people – and all people everywhere – who are victims of religious tyranny.

“We support the many victims of Sharia law, especially the Muslim women who are campaigning for equality. We cannot accept the way Islamic states, including western allies like Saudi Arabia, restrict women’s freedom of movement, make women subject to the control of male guardians, deny women access to certain jobs and positions in government and enforce the compulsory veiling of women with the hijab, niqab, jilbab or burqa.

“We stand in opposition to all religious laws in Britain and worldwide.

“We express our support for the many courageous, inspiring Muslims who are campaigning against the inequalities and inhumanities of Sharia law, often at great risk to their liberty and life.

“Contrary to the way our critics are trying to misrepresent our rally, this is not an attack on Muslims or Islam. We are here to support Muslims who are resisting Sharia law.

“We defend Muslims and people of all faiths against hatred and discrimination. The victimisation of people because of their religious beliefs is just as wrong as victimising people because of their race, gender or sexuality.

“In a democracy, everyone should be subject to the same laws, with the same rights and responsibilties. Religious rulings should not influence the laws or courts in any way.

“We believe that Muslims and all peoples worldwide should have rights, freedoms and choices, in accordance with the principles of equality and non-discrimination that are enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are not western values. They are international humanitarian values, agreed by the global consensus of the member states of the UN.

“It is wrong to tolerate the denial of human rights to non-white Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, when most of us would never tolerate the denial of these rights to white (and non-white) people in Britain.

“There should be no double standards. No moral or cultural relativism. Defend universal human rights. One law for all,” said Mr Tatchell.

For further information and photos, contact Maryam Namazie onelawforall@gmail.com

Web: www.onelawforall.org.uk

Peter Tatchell

Jamaican Gay bashingJamaican Gay Bashing, Don’t Panic

The global struggle for queer freedom

Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture 2009

by Peter Tatchell

Most of the world is still living in the homophobic dark ages, but LGBT people are defiant and making gains.

Delivered 13 October 2009 at Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln, UK.

It is a very great honour, and joy, to deliver the Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture 2009. Caroline was a friend and comrade. I remember her with much affection. She left us with a fine humanitarian legacy as a leading advocate of comprehensive education and better educational opportunities. She also lives on, in spirit, through her inspiring, passionate support for socialism, trade union rights, women’s equality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) freedom. She was a true progressive, who dedicated her life, with much honour and nobility, to the upliftment of humanity. I am very proud to have known Caroline, and salute her life and work with this lecture.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have made great progress in Britain, especially in the last decade. But in large parts of the world, homophobic and transphobic oppression remains rife.

Take Jamaica, a country with which Britain has close ties. It is a parliamentary democracy and a member of the Commonwealth. It is not a police-state dictatorship. Yet male homosexuality is criminalised and punishable with up to 10 years hard labour. Homophobic discrimination and violence is endemic and the government refuses to take any serious action to protect LGBT Jamaicans.

One of my Jamaican colleagues was the AIDS educator and gay rights activist, Steve Harvey. He was a trail-blazer for LGBT people and especially for people with HIV. In late 2005, a gang burst into his home, kidnapped him, took him to a remote place and shot him dead in an execution-style killing.

Soon afterwards, Nokia Cowen drowned when he jumped into Kingston harbour to escape a violent homophobic mob that had chased him through town. A few weeks later, Jamaica’s trade ambassador, Peter King, was found dead with his throat slashed and multiple stab wounds. Then there was the gruesome discovery of the mutilated bodies of two lesbians, who were found dumped in a septic pit behind the house they shared. All these horrific, homophobic killings happened just weeks apart.

Only this summer, John Terry, the British consul in Jamaica, was brutally mudered in his own home by a killer who left a note abusing him as a “batty man” (Jamaican patois slang for faggot), and warning that the same fate would happen to “all gays.”

Homophobic violence is routine in Jamaica, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. LGBT victims of hate crimes seldom get justice. Police sometimes ignore anti-gay attacks and some officers have been known to abuse, threaten, beat and arrest gay-bashing victims. The perpetrators of homophobic violence are rarely put on trial and convicted.

What is happening in Jamaica is symptomatic of a much wider homophobic persecution.

Around 80 countries continue to outlaw homosexuality, with penalties ranging from one year’s jail to life imprisonment. Just under half these countries are former British colonies and current members of the Commonwealth – a community of nations supposedly committed to uphold democracy and human rights. The anti-gay laws in these Commonwealth nations were originally legislated by the British government in the nineteenth century during the period of colonial rule. They were never repealed when these nations won their independence from Britain.

As well as homophobic laws, British imperalism imposed homophobic prejudice, by means of the fire and brimstone Christian fundamentalist missionaries who sought to “civilise” the so-called “heathen” peoples of the colonies. Some civilisation! The British conquerers instilled in these countries a homophobic hatred that lives on to this day, which is wrecking the lives of LGBT people.

Homophobia is particularly extreme in the Islamist states that impose the death penalty for same-sex relations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan and the Yemen. In some regions of other countries, such as Nigeria and Pakistan, Sharia law is enforced and lesbians and gays can be stoned to death.

Amid this gloom, last December something truly remarkable and historic happened. Sixty-six countries signed a United Nations’ statement calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and condemning homophobic discrimination and violence. This was the first time the UN General Assembly had addressed the issue of LGBT human rights. Previously, all resolutions that attempted to get UN committees to endorse LGBT equality had been blocked by an unholy alliance of the Vatican and Islamic states.

Despite this breakthrough statement, even today no international human rights convention specifically acknowledges sexual rights as human rights. None explicitly guarantee equality and non-discrimination to LGBT people. The right to love a person of one’s choice is absent from global humanitatrian statutes. Relationships between partners of the same sex are not officially recognised in any international law. There is nothing in the many UN conventions that concretely guarantees LGBT equality and prohibits homophobic discrimination

Nor are specific LGBT rights and protections included within the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It is only in the last decade or so that the ECHR’s equality and privacy clauses been interpreted to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

In the late 1990s, British LGBT citizens filed appeals at the European Court of Human Rights, against the UK’s then discriminatory, homophobic laws. They cited the ECHR’s right-to-privacy and anti-discrimination clauses to successfully challenge centuries-old anti-gay UK legislation. These victories at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg forced the British government to repeal the unequal age of consent for gay men, discriminatory sexual offences laws and the ban on lesbians and gays serving in the armed forces.

ECHR judgments also successfully pressured Romania and Cyprus to decriminalise homosexuality. The ECHR has thus played an important role in challenging and overturning homophobic legislation.

Of the 192 member states of the UN, only a handful have repealed all major legal inequalities against LGBT people: including the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, New Zealand and, more recently, the UK.

Britain’s record was not always so positive. In the 1980s, the UK had a greater number of homophobic laws than the then communist-ruled Soviet Union. Nowadays, we are one of the most progressive European countries. We’ve gone from zero to hero in a mere decade.

In large parts of the world, however, homophobia is still rampant. Hundreds of millions of LGBT people are forced to hide their sexuality; fearing ostracism, harassment, discrimination, imprisonment, torture and even murder.

Some of this violence is perpetrated by vigilantes, including right-wing death squads in countries like Mexico and Brazil. They justify the killing of queers as “social cleansing.”
Other homophobic persecution is officially encouraged and enforced by governments, police, courts, media and religious leaders.

This persecution is happening even in Europe and the US. In echoes of Margaret Thatcher’s notorious Section 28, Lithuania has just passed a new law banning the so-called “promotion” of homosexuality. The US maintains a federal ban on same-sex marriage and openly LGBT people are not allowed to serve in the armed forces.

Homophobic injustice is rife in much of Africa. Cameroonian gay men have been arrested and jailed in the last year, without any clear evidence that they had same-sex relations.

In Nigeria, in 2005, six teenage lesbians, one only 12 years old, were ordered to be punished with an agonising 90 lashes for consensual same-sex relations. Last year, a Nigerian gay pastor and another Christian gay activist were forced to flee the country after threats to kill them.

In Nepal, there is a long, sad history of transgender people being regularly beaten, raped, arrested and detained without trial.

Government ministers in Namibia, echoing the homo-hatred of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, have denounced lesbians and gays as unAfrican, as traitors and as spreaders of HIV/AIDS.

In the new post-Saddam Hussein “democratic” Iraq, the rise of Islamist fundamentalism has led to the creeping, de facto imposition of Sharia law, with deadly consequences for LGBTs – and for women who refuse to be veiled. Iraqis who murder LGBT people to defend the “honour” of their family escape punishment. The US and UK-backed Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a fatwa calling for the execution of lesbians and gays in the “worst, most severe way possible.” Islamist death squads of the Badr and Sadr militias are assassinating LGBT people in their homes and streets, with impunity.

Russian religious leaders have united to orchestrate a campaign of hatred against the LGBT community. The Orthodox Church has denounced homosexuality as a “sin which destroys human beings and condemns them to a spiritual death.” The Chief Mufti of Russia’s Muslims, Talgat Tajuddin, says gay campaigners “should be bashed… Sexual minorities have no rights, because they have crossed the line. Alternative sexuality is a crime against God.” Russian Chief Rabbi, Berl Lazar, has condemned gay pride parades as “a blow for morality,” adding that there is no right to “sexual perversions.”

The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, has denounced gay people as “satanic.” He has repeatedly banned Gay Pride marches. This violates Russia’s constitution and law, which guarantee freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest. LGBT people who have attempted to march have been violently arrested.

The Iranian persecution of LGBTs continues unabated. Twenty-two year old Amir was entrapped by via a gay dating website. The person he arranged to meet turned out to be a member of the morality police. Amir was jailed, tortured and sentenced to 100 lashes, which caused him to lose consciousness and left his whole back covered in huge bloody welts. He is just one of many Iranian LGBTs who have been subjected to lashings, torture, imprisonment and, sometimes, execution.

The western-backed regime in Saudi Arabia retains the death penalty – usually beheading – for homosexuality. In early 2006, its neighbour, the United Arab Emirates, imposed six years jail on 11 gay men arrested at a private party. They were not imprisoned for sexual acts, but merely for being gay and attending a gay social gathering.

The election of a right-wing, Catholic fundamentalist government in Poland in 2005 resulted in the abolition of the government office for combating discrimination against women and LGBTs. The same year, the Mayor of Poznan banned the Gay Pride parade. LGBT people marched anyway. Over 60 were arrested. Many more were injured after the police failed to protect them from the violence of far right counter-protesters.

Uganda is gripped by the state-sponsored victimisation of LGBT people. Typical is the fate of gay rights activist Kizza Musinguzi. He was jailed in 2004 and subjected to four months of forced labour, water torture, beatings and rape. Another gay Ugandan, Isaac K, narrowly escaped an attempted summary execution by a homophobic mob acting with the connivance of local government officials.

Those who speak out against anti-gay violence risk dire consequences. Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo was dismissed by the Church of Uganda for defending the human rights of LGBT people.

In recent years, the Ugandan government has passed a law banning same-sex marriage, fined Radio Simba for broadcasting a discussion of LGBT issues, and expelled a UN AIDS agency director for meeting with gay activists.

LGBT people have nevertheless made huge strides forward in many parts of the world. A mere four decades ago, “queers” were almost universally seen as mad, bad and sad. Same-sex relations were deemed a sin, a crime and a sickness. It was in only 1991 that the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as an illness, and that Amnesty International agreed to campaign for LGBT human rights and to adopt jailed LGBTs as prisoners of conscience.

Nowadays, the global tide is shifting in favour of LGBT emanicipation. An out gay man and LGBT activist, Sunil Pant, was elected to the parliament of Nepal in the post-monarchy elections. In 1999, Georgina Beyer took office in New Zealand, becoming the world’s first openly transgender MP. Uruguay, formerly a military dictatorship, this summer lifted its prohibition on gay servicemen and women. The Lebanon has made history by becoming the first Arab Middle East nation to allow the open, legal establishment of an LGBT welfare and human rights group, Helem.

While fundamentalist religion is still a major threat to LGBT equality, we also have our allies in many faiths. The anti-aparheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has compared homophobia to racism, and described the battle for LGBT freedom as the moral equivalent of the fight against apartheid.

Six countries now outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in their constitutions: South Africa (1996), Fiji (1997), Ecuador (1998), Switzerland (2000), Sweden (2003) and Portugal (2004).

In almost every country on earth, there are LGBT freedom movements – some open, others clandestine.

For the first time ever, countries like the Philippines, Estonia, Lebanon, Columbia, Russia, Sri Lanka, and China are hosting LGBT conferences and Pride celebrations. Via the internet and pop culture, LGBT people in small towns in Ghana, Peru, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Vietnam, St Lucia, Palestine, Fiji and Kenya are connecting with the worldwide LGBT community. The struggle for LGBT liberation has gone global. We’ve begun to roll back the homophobia of centuries. Bravo!

Postscript:

LGBT movements worldwide are urging every government to legislate LGBT equality and human rights and to tackle homophobic and transphobic prejudice, harassment, discriminatiion and violence. These demands include:

1 – Decriminalise same-sex relations; in particular, abolish the death penalty and flogging.

2 – Allow the formation of LGBT organisations and the advocacy of LGBT human rights; and consult with these organisations and their spokespeople when drafting new laws and policies.

3 – Outlaw discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in employment, housing, education, advertising, health-care and the provision of goods and services, such as hotel accommodation and service in bars and restaurants.

4 – Establish an equal age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual acts.

5 – Grant legal recognition and rights to same-sex partners; either via civil marriage or civil partnerships / civil unions.

6 – Teach gay-inclusive sex and civic education in schools, in order to challenge homophobia and promote understanding and acceptance of LGBT people.

7 – Crackdown on homophobic hate crimes, to protect LGBTs from hate-motivated violence.

8 – Revise all laws to make them sexuality-neutral, so there is no legislative differentiation between heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality, and so that heterosexual, lesbian, gay and bisexual people have the same rights and responsibilities in law.

9 – Provide access for same-sex couples to fertility treatment and give them the right to foster and adopt children.

10 – Offer gay-inclusive HIV education and prevention campaigns, non-discriminatory HIV care and support services, and LGBT access to free or low-cost condoms.

Onward, upward and forward to queer liberation worldwide.

* Peter Tatchell has campaigned for LGBT human rights for over 40 years. For more information about his campaigns and to make a donation: http://www.petertatchell.net


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STOP EXECUTIONS OF GAY IRAQIS
MEMBERS OF IRAQI LGBT GROUP ON DEATH ROW
ACTION NEEDED TO HALT JUDICIAL EXECUTIONS

http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/2009/03/stop-executions-of-gay-iraqis.html

London, 27 March 2009

gwb09iraq-2Urgent action is needed to halt the execution of 128 prisoners on death row in Iraq. Many of those awaiting execution were convicted for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality, according to IRAQI-LGBT, a UK based organisation of Iraqis supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Iraq.

According to Ali Hili of IRAQI-LGBT, the Iraqi authorities plan to start executing them in batches of 20 from this week.

IRAQI-LGBT urgently requests that the UK Government, Human Rights Groups and the United Nations Human Rights Commission intervene with due speed to prevent this tragic miscarriage of justice from going ahead.

“We have information and reports on members of our community whom been arrested and waiting for execution for the crimes of homosexuality,’’ said Mr Hili. “Iraqi lgbt has been a banned from running our activities on Iraqi soil.”

“Raids by the Iraqi police and ministry of interior forces cost our group the diapering and killing of 17 members working for Iraqi lgbt since 2005,” added Mr Hili.

“Death penalty has been increasing at an alarming rate in Iraq since the new Iraqi regime reintroduced it in August 2004.
In 2008 at least 285 people were sentenced to death, and at least 34 executed. In 2007 at least 199 people were sentenced to death and 33 were executed, while in 2006 at least 65 people were put to death. The actual figures could be much higher as there are no official statistics for the number of prisoners facing execution,” he said.

IRAQI LGBT is concerned that the Iraqi authorities have not disclosed the identities of those facing imminent execution, stoking fears that many of them may have been sentenced to death after trials that failed to satisfy international standards for fair trial.

Most are likely to have been sentenced to death by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI), whose proceedings consistently fall short of international standards for fair trial. Some are likely to have. Allegations of torture are not being investigated adequately or at all by the CCCI. Torture of detainees held by Iraqi security forces remains rife.

Iraq’s creaking judicial system is simply unable to guarantee fair trials in ordinary criminal cases, and even less so in capital cases, with the result, we fear, that numerous people have gone to their death after unfair trials.

The Iraqi government must order an immediate halt to these executions and establish a moratorium on all further executions in Iraq, particularly since due process cannot be guaranteed. The state executing people for ‘morals’ crimes is also obviously unacceptable and deplorable.

Amnesty International has called on the Iraqi authorities to make public all information pertaining to the 128 people, including their full names, details of the charges against them, the dates of their arrest, trial and appeal and their current places of detention.

The immediate urgent priority is to Support and Donate Money to LGBT activists in Iraq in order to assist their efforts to help other Lesbians, Gay, Bisexuals and Trans gender Iraqi’s facing death, persecution and systematic Targeting by the Iraqi Police and Badr and Sadr Militia and to raise awareness about the wave of homophobic murders in Iraq to the outside world.
Funds raised will also help provide LGBTs under threat of killing with refuge in the safer parts of Iraq (including safe houses, food, electricity, medical help) and assist efforts help them seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Iraqi Lgbt
22 Notting Hill Gate
Unit # 111
London , W11 3JE
United Kingdom
Mob: ++44 798 1959 453
Website : http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

See also: Iraq’s brutal executions by Kate Allen, Guardian

Iraqi gays claim government executing them by Paul Canning

Amnesty International: 128 prisoners to be executed in Iraq by Therion

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See also previous post about this subject:

choudary2
Muslim preacher calls for gays to be stoned to death By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk

Photo The Sun
Hate preacher Anjem Choudary launched a vitrolic attack on gays last week in which he said that they should be stoned to death.

The former lawyer, who lives on benefits, added that this would include gay business secretary Lord Peter Mandelson, who, under Sharia law, would first be educated about the “evils” of homosexuality then executed if he confessed to a same-sex relationship.

He was speaking at a press conference in London organised by Islamic extremists to justify a protest in Luton last week against soldiers returning home from Iraq.

Choudary said: “If a man likes another man, it can happen, but if you go on to fulfil your desire, if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow. You don’t stone to death unless there are four eyewitnesses. It is a very stringent procedure.

“There are some people who are attracted to donkeys but that does not mean it is right.”

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer told the Daily Mail: “These statements show the depravity of this man’s beliefs. They must incite hatred and encourage terrorism, and I would encourage the Metropolitan Police to investigate them as rigorously as possible.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said police would investigate Choudary’s remarks if a complaint was made.

Choudary has previously called for Sharia law to be implemented in the UK.

Last week, he called for all British women to be forced to wear burkhas, saying: ““Every woman, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, would have to wear a traditional burkha and cover everything apart from her face and hands in public.

“In matters to do with the judicial system and the penal code, one male witness is sufficient to counter the testimony of two females. People who commit adultery would be stoned to death.”

Full Article

Galloway’s Iranian Propaganda? Anti-gay?
Sex abuse allegations – where’s the evidence?
Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend defamed.
LONDON, 13 March 2008
George Galloway MP is accused of mouthing “the propaganda of the Iranian dictatorship” after he claimed on the Channel 5 TV talk show The Wright Stuff this morning that the boyfriend of gay asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi was executed for sex crimes (see full transcript below). The criticism comes from the gay human rights group, OutRage!. “We are calling on George Galloway to explain the source of his claim that Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend had committed sex crimes and this was the reason he was executed,” said OutRage! spokesperson, Brett Lock. Mr Galloway also denied that Iran executes homosexuals.
“Neither OutRage! nor any other human rights group has seen any evidence to suggest that Mr Kazemi’s partner was a rapist or sex-abuser.”
“George Galloway has made this claim. He should now produce the evidence.”
“This looks like the Iranian propaganda. The homophobic tyrants in Tehran frequently defame political, religious, and sexual dissidents with false claims of rape, alcoholism, drug-taking and hooliganism. But in this case, not even the Iranian authorities have made these allegations against Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend,” noted Mr Lock. “Furthermore, Mr Galloway’s claim that gay people are not executed in Iran is refuted by every reputable human rights body, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Iran has the death penalty for homosexuality and gay people are often tortured to make confessions. They are hanged in public by the barbaric slow strangulation method which is deliberately designed to maximise and prolong the suffering of the victim,” said Mr Lock.

TRANSCRIPT:
GG: The Independent has a story about Peers calling upon the Home Secretary to halt the deportation of a gay Iranian. In part this is being used as part of the on-going propaganda against Iran. All the papers seem to imply that you get executed in Iran for being gay. That’s not true.
MW: His boyfriend was hung though, wasn’t he?
GG: Yes, but nor being gay. For uh, committing sex crimes, uh, against young men.
MW: Right…
GG: I mean, I’m against execution for any reason in any place, but it is important to avoid that propaganda.
MW: So you’re saying that his guy they want to deport should be deported because there is no risk of his sexuality.. or he shouldn’t be deported because there is at risk?
GG: He should not be deported not least because after all this Iranian propaganda he will be accused of being the source, or one of the sources. It would be ridiculous to deport him, and I don’t think he will be deported now.
For further information: Brett Lock – Peter Tatchell

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PRESS RELEASE

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:

Gruppo EveryOne

Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527
www.everyonegroup.com :: info@everyonegroup.com

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Hamzeh e Loghman. One of the messages addressed to President Ahmadinejad

Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Through this I externarle’s appreciation for his attention to this request.

Por medio la presente permítame externarle el agradecimiento por la atención prestada a ésta petitoria.

The reason for this is to make the formal request to allow the exit of life Hamzeh Chavi and Loghman Hamzehpour, who were arrested on charges of Mohareb (enemies of Allah) and Lavat (sodomy).

El motivo de la presente es hacerle la petición formal de permitir la salida con vida de Hamzeh Chavi y Loghman Hamzehpour, quienes fueron arrestados por los cargos de Mohareb (enemigos de Alá) y Lavat (sodomía).

The respect for their culture and religion is highly esteemed in our nation, and we believe that no country should interfere in the internal affairs of another and also enact “Just as among men and nations respect the rights of others is peace “, Not trying in any way to change their culture or impose Western culture, and that their culture is respected conception taking of life itself, just ask in a respectful manner that allows the output of Iraq, healthy and alive and Hamzeh Chavi Loghman Hamzehpour.

El respeto a su cultura y su religión es muy estimada en nuestra nación, así como creemos que ningún país debe de intervenir en los asuntos internos de otro y también promulgamos “Así como entre los hombres y las naciones el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz”, no intentamos de ninguna forma cambiar su cultura o imponer la cultura occidental, ya que su cultura se respeta la concepción que se tenga de la vida misma, solo pedimos de manera respetuosa que permita la salida de Irak, sanos y con vida a Hamzeh Chavi y Loghman Hamzehpour.

Human rights to those who have access blanket in this sister nation and other more, we live in harmony with diplomatic their homeland, have incurred as a serious crime in their society just ask the banished and the international community and the host pay the costs of exit from Iraq, where he never again hear from them.

Los derechos humanos a los que tienen acceso los cobija en esta nación hermana y en otras mas, que vivimos en armonía diplomática con su patria, como han incurrido en un delito grave en su sociedad solo le pedimos los destierre y la comunidad internacional los acogerá y pagaran los gastos de salida de Irak, donde jamás volverá a saber de ellos.

I am sure that his new vision of the country is the union with the rest of the world to improve the quality of life of their compatriots, the inclusion in this context is only cooperation on their part to ensure that these two lives are not segadas and that another world than the one to which you live is not more offended by such practices

Estoy seguro que su nueva visión de país es la unión con el resto del mundo, para mejorar la calidad de vida de sus compatriotas, la inclusión en este contexto es solo la cooperación de su parte para que estas dos vidas no sean segadas y que en otro mundo diferente al que usted vive no se le ofenda mas por dichas prácticas.

Human solidarity is based on cooperation and the goodwill of nations, it has this goodwill to which we amparamos to allow these two people can continue to live in a place where not to offend their old tradition.

La solidaridad humana esta basada en la cooperación y en la buena voluntad de las naciones, es ha esta buena voluntad a la que nos amparamos para que permita que estas dos personas puedan seguir viviendo en un lugar donde no ofendan a su tradición milenaria.

Thank you be kind enough to reply in order to begin the negotiation process with international bodies to leave these two people from Iraqi soil.

Le agradezco tenga la amabilidad de contestarme a fin de comenzar con el procedimiento de negociación con las instancias internacionales para que salgan estas dos personas de tierra Iraki.

Yours

C.L. Rodolfo Vitela Melgar.

For the conquest of all our rights.

Diversity Alternative Mexico.

Atentamente

C.L. Rodolfo Vitela Melgar.

Por la conquista de todos nuestros derechos.

Diversidad Alternativa México.

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

Justice Administration of Tehran : info@dadgostary-tehran.ir

Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos: infoDesk@ohchr.org

Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Ref ug iados (España): spama@unhcr.org

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (United Kingdom): info@iran-embassy.org.uk

Embajada de la República Islámica de Irán (España): embiran@hotmail.com

Embajada Británica en España: enquiries.madrid@fco.gov.uk

Ministra del Interior del Reino Unido (Home Secretary): smithjj@parliament.uk

Ministro de Exteriores del Reino Unido (Foreign Secretary): milibandd@parliament.uk

 

Enviad copia de vuestros mensajes a:

EveryOne Group: info@everyonegroup.com

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission: asylum@iglhrc.org

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From UK to Death: New Deportation of an Iranian Gay Man

“The following comes from a fellow in the U.K. whom I’ve been trying modestly to assist in fighting the deportation of his Iranian partner, who has repeatedly been denied asylum in the U.K. as a sexual refugee from persecution.”
Doug Ireland

Comment: Stop deporting gay refugees back to Iran, Pink News, 22nd October 2007, Omar Kuddus
Detention centres stand as monuments to Britain’s attitude to human rights, incarcerating behind razor wire, asylum seekers awaiting deportation. They are the last stop for those who have failed to make a successful asylum claim, a key tool in the British governments attempt to “manage migration” and hold an average 25,000 immigrants every year.
Tony McNulty stated “removing those who have no right to remain in the UK is an integral part of our balanced approach to asylum and immigration, helping us to cut abuse of the system and ensure an effective end-to-end process.”

Much of the debate around immigration to the UK focuses on the legitimacy of Asylum claims. In order for campaigners aiming to prevent the deportation of specific individuals to stand any chance of victory, they have to focus on the individual’s legitimate claim to refugee status, and can be effective for securing a future by razing public questioning about the draconian nature of the immigration policy.

It is time to recognize that the global system of population control creates and maintains injustices and inequalities.

Sexual minorities in the UK have every right to exercise and celebrate their own hard won rights; however the time has still not come to take things for granted, despite the government passing the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which guaranteed sexual minorities protection against discrimination on the grounds of their sexuality.

The stance of Britain on homosexuals seeking asylum on the grounds of their sexual orientation is worrying. Arguably Britain should exercise caution when letting people into the country, but also should be reasonable.
One has to ask, would you want to send a gay Iranian back to Iran, only for him to face public execution? For just being gay!

Human sexuality is as much a fundamental right as the right to free speech or the right to freedom and no one, least of all a government, elected by the people, has the right to interfere with that right.

Most Judges are dismissing homosexual’s claims to asylum and destroying their credibility, with all the evidence confirming that they are being used as a soft target (to bring down the asylum figures). Peter Tatchell recently stated “it is designed to fail as many applicants as possible in order to meet government targets to cut asylum numbers”. Homosexuality does not form a social group within the 1951, United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Home Office systematically refuse asylum on the grounds that it does not recognize homophobic persecution as a legitimate and valid ground for asylum (under the 1952 Refugee Convention).
The Home Offices recent refusal of 35 year old gay Iranian, Saeed Faraji, on the grounds that he could not prove that homosexuals are subjected to “torture, inhumane or degrading treatment” in Iran, despite his sworn statement, further establishes this.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied that any homosexuals live in his country (to an audience at Columbia University in New York).
“In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” he said. “In Iran we do not have this phenomenon; I don’t know who has told you that we have it.”

This is despite according to Iranian human rights campaigners Iran has executed an estimated 4000 gay men since the Ayatollahs came to power in 1979. According to the gay rights group Outrage! ”the Islamic Republic of Iran is qualitatively more homophobic than any other state on earth”. ”Its government- promoted and religious sanctioned torture and execution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people marks out Iran as a state acting in defiance of all agreed international human rights conventions”

The Islamic Sharia law followed in Iran makes gay sex illegal with penalty of death, for offenders as young as 14 years old.

The BIA (Home Office Border and Immigration Agency) is choosing to send people back and just hope that things go well and that they are not executed. This pheromone is extremely worrying as they are willing to ignore the advice of the Human rights watch and signs of danger in Iran.

Several failed asylum seekers, been refused asylum (by the home Office) have committed suicide, rather than face the barbaric persecution, torture and punishment awaiting them in Iran, having publicly admitted their sexuality (to the home office).

The newly formed EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) is about building a fairer, more confident and united Britain, and provide practical guidance including to individuals. (Its Chair, Trevor Philips, said” We will continue to support meritorious and significant individual cases” with Ben Summerskill (Chief Executive Stonewall and one of the 14 commissioners adding) “This is hugely important…because people will have a public body required to defend them for the very first time”. The challenge is to make it work.
Thus giving the gay community finally a voice, to ask for the end of deportation of gay asylum seekers, who do not have the luxury of being themselves as we do.
The home Offices refusal to accept failed asylum seekers can have a profound effect. I should know. The person I fell in love with and want to form a civil partnership with happens to fall within this category and despite being British myself I have for the past three years lived a life of uncertainty, despair and fear that he will be deported and returned back to Iran, where he is certain to face the gallows, along with myself as I have no intentions of being parted from him. Just for being gay.

Full Article
Hanging of five alleged homosexuals in Iran, Live Leak

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Saudi protest over torture of gays – 7,000 lashes for ‘sodomy’ could kill
Demo at Saudi Embassy in London

London – 19 October 2007

Fifty people picketed the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London today, 19
October, in protest at the flogging and execution of gay people.

To download free use photos of the protest, click here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/outrage/sets/72157602577245246/

On the 2 October, two young men in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Bahah were convicted of ‘sodomy’ and sentenced to 7,000 lashes. In Saudi Arabia same-sex relations are illegal and the maximum penalty is death.

“7,000 lashes is a form of torture, calculated to cause maximum, prolonged suffering,” said protester Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group OutRage!

“So many lashes can be fatal, depending on how many are delivered at any one time,” he said.

The London protest was organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) LGBT campaign, with the support of OutRage!

The protest came just over a week ahead of the State Visit to the UK of the Saudi tyrant, King Abdullah bin Abdul Azaz al Saud.

“As well as flogging and executing gay people, the Saudi leaders are guilty of detention without trial, torture and the public beheading women who have sex outside of marriage,” said Peter Tatchell.

“The Saudis import migrant workers to do menial tasks. They are treated like de facto slaves, frequently abused and with few rights. The media is heavily censored. Trade unions, political parties and non-Muslim religions are banned. The country is a theocratic police state.

“The British and US governments support the despotic, corrupt Saudi regime. Labour sells the Saudi leaders arms and honours them with state visits. It refuses asylum to gay Saudis who flee persecution and seek refuge in the UK,” he said.

“The Saudi leaders should be shunned until they stop their homophobic persecution and their many other human rights abuses,” said fellow OutRage! protester, Brett Lock.

“Next week’s State Visit by King Abdullah should be cancelled. Gordon Brown and The Queen should not be welcoming to Britain the head of a corrupt, tyrannical regime.

“We urge international solidarity to support the Saudi people’s struggle for democracy and human rights, in the same way that the world mobilised to support the struggle against apartheid in South Africa,” said Mr Lock.

This view was echoed by NUS protest organiser, Scott Cuthbertson:
“We call on individuals and groups, LGBT or otherwise, to protest against the continued criminalisation, imprisonment, torture and murder of LGBT people in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“We handed in a letter of protest to the Saudi Ambassador, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, calling on his Government to respect the human rights of its own LGBT citizens. Please join us in the struggle for Love without Borders – LGBT rights around the world – and make your views known to the Saudi Ambassador,” he added.

“This year NUS LGBT Campaign is campaigning for ‘Love without Borders'”, said Claire Anderson, the NUS LGBT Officer and co-organiser of the protest.

“Around the world, LGBT people are persecuted, imprisoned and even murdered in state-sponsored homophobia. We live in a global community and no longer can we stand by while LGBT people are persecuted. Now is the time to use our freedom to fight for the rights of others across the globe. When abuses of human rights take place we must not be silent,” she said.

Contact phone number:
Claire Anderson NUS 07845 605152
Peter Tatchell OutRage! 020 7403 1790
Read also: Saudi Arabia: 7,000 Lashes for Sodomy