More Than Eighty ‘Gay’ Men Arrested at Birthday Party in Isfahan




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Out in Iran:
Inside Iran's Secret Gay World

He is followed by secret police. His friends are routinely whipped. Some are executed. His name is Mani Zaniar and he is the leader of Iran’s secret gay rights movement.

It is the most dangerous civil rights movement in the world. And for the first time ever, Mani, and many others, risked their lives to come on camera and tell their story.

In this startling and unique Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, Out in Iran, you go to Iran and get the world’s first look at life inside Iran’s persecuted gay community. We meet an astonishing group of courageous people with heartbreaking stories.

Originally shown on March 4
(duration: 22 minutes)

" isn't unusual to see corpses, including those of young gay men, swinging from gallows and cranes in public places [In Iran]."  Columnist Joan Smith, The Independent (UK). April 9, 2007.



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TORONTO, May 14, 2007  –  More than eighty members, thought to be from the Iranian gay community are reported to have been arrested by security personnel in Isfahan, the Toronto-based IRanian Queer Organization revealed this morning.

The arrests are said to have been made at 10pm on May 10 when police raided the birthday party of ‘Farhad’.  They are said to have brutally assaulted the host, his parents and their guests.

Reports received in Toronto say that everyone at the party was arrested on the spot.

Police are said to have used batons to beat those at the party before taking them into custody.

Farhad’s family who were present at the party have been also arrested.

Initial reports put the number of those arrested at eighty; but subsequent reports now suggest the number to be eighty seven.

“I went to buy a gift for Farhad and so I arrived late for the party,” ‘Peyman’ said by telephone to the IRanian Queer Organization.

“As soon as I turned in to their street, I saw police cars parked everywhere; all my friends were arrested while seven or eight policeman beat them with batons.  Fearing the usual punishments for attending a party, two had jumped from the second-floor window and were in a bad condition.

“Farhad’s family were also arrested.  Everyone was transported into a big car and taken into custody.  All their cell phones are off and we have no information about the situation inside the jail,” he reported.

Another contact, ‘Kia’, reported: “Guests had come from Shiraz, Tehran, Shahin Shahr to Isfahan for Farhad’s birthday.  When they were coming out of the house followed by the police, their clothes were ripped, their faces and bodies were covered in blood.  They were beaten up badly.”

The following morning all those arrested were taken to court, and later taken to the jail.  The court is not permitting the families of those arrested to visit their children, and is not accepting bail for their temporary release.

“A few girls were among the guest and were also arrested but were released the next day, ‘Farzin’ reported.  “All the gay men at the party are now in jail.

“I am extremely worried for their wellbeing and I fear that those of us who were not in the party, will be arrested next.”

Yesterday (May 13), IRanian Queer Organization also received news that those arrested were under severe tortures and in bad conditions in the jail in Isfahan, the group’s executive director Arsham Parsi said today.

“Their lives are in danger.

“We suspect that preventing family visits is partly due to the physical conditions and also part of their torture.  We ask for prompt release as any day might be too late.”

Mr. Parsi added that in the past such arrests have resulted in further arrests and naming names, which, he said, “has created disasters in previous years”.

■  This news was reported to IRanian Queer Organization by colleagues in Shiraz and Isfahan.  The Toronto-based group have received many emails expressing concern for the wellbeing of those arrested and the treatment that they might have received.


Iranian Gay Writer and Activist Seeking Refugee Status Returned to Iran by Turkish Police.  An urgent appeal on behalf of a courageous Iranian gay activist and writer who was deported back to Iran from Turkey two weeks ago was made last night by the Canadian-based IRanian Queer Organization (IRQO).  (UK Gay News, April 19, 2007)

Don’t Leave Iranian Gays Abandoned.  By Mehdi.   This article was written by a 19-years-old gay Iranian who tells how, while he was a student in London, his boyfriend back home was executed for being gay.  Mehdi says he was scared of returning home and meeting the same fate when his student visa expired last year – and of his asylum application to the Home Office.  (UK Gay News, April 18, 2007)




Posted: 14 May 2007 at 13:00 (UK time)


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