Also Today from UK Gay News
Gay Iranian Teens: London Embassy Protest Set
LONDON, July 27 – A London protest over the execution of two gay teenagers in Iran has been arranged by gay human rights group Outrage! for Thursday August 11 outside the Iranian Embassy in Prince’s Gate, SW7.
Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were publicly executed by hanging last week in Mashhad, north east Iran on, July 19.
The teenagers admitted to having gay sex – probably under torture, Outrage! considers – but claimed in their defence that many young boys had sex with each other and that they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death.
Prior to their execution, the teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes each.
Their length of detention suggests that they committed the so-called offences more than a year earlier, when Mahmoud was 15 and Ayaz was 17.
Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the youngest boy, who at the time of execution was 16, had appealed that Mahmoud was too young to be executed and that the court should take into account his tender age. He was quoted by the IRIN news agency as saying that “the judiciary had trampled on its own laws”, explaining that the Iranian courts usually commute death sentences on children to five years jail.
Despite his pleas, the Supreme Court in Tehran ordered Mahmoud to be hanged.
Three other young gay Iranians are being hunted by the police in connection with the same so-called crime, but they have gone into hiding and cannot be found. If caught, they will probably also face execution.
“News of the two executions was reported by ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on 19 July. It stated that they were hung for the crime of sodomy,” said Brett Lock of the London-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights group, OutRage!, which helped break the story to the international media.
“A later news story by Iran Focus, which claimed to be based on this original ISNA report, said the youths were executed for raping a 13 year old boy. But the ISNA report does not mention any rape or any 13 year old boy.
“A report of the executions on the website of the banned, underground democratic opposition movement, The National Council of Resistance Of Iran, also makes no reference to rape, Lock pointed out..
“The allegation of rape may be a trumped up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths – a frequent tactic by the Islamist regime in Iran.
“Or it could be that the 13 year old was a willing participant but that Iranian law – like UK law– deems that no person aged 13 is capable of sexual consent and that therefore even consensual sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be statutory rape,” he suggested.
“The use of torture is routine in Iran, and these boys were violently abused in prison, with more than 200 lashes. The two teenagers are said to have confessed to gay sex. It would be very unusual for anyone in Iran to make such a confession voluntarily, given the violently homophobic nature of the society and the public stigma and shame of admitting to same-sex acts.
“People who admit to gay sex in Iran risk disownment by their family, possible 'honour killing' by neighbours, and jailing, whipping and execution by the state,” Lock pointed out.
“The allegations of rape appear to have only surfaced after adverse publicity in the international media and condemnation by human rights groups in Iran and abroad.
“It is possible the rape allegations are true, but that they seem unlikely, given that these allegations appear to have suddenly and very conveniently surfaced once an outcry ensued.
“It is, of course, possible that the original ISNA report was incomplete and that it inadvertantly failed to mention the rape claims,” he admitted.
“But usually the Iranian authorities openly boast about rapists being hung as a deterrent and to win public sympathy. So if the teenagers were guilty of rape, why was it not mentioned in the original news report?
“Even if the youths were guilty of rape, public execution of minors is unjustified and extreme,” concluded Mr Lock.
Original news story in Farsi from ISNA, with three photographs: http://isna.ir/Main/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-556874
“This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran,” said Peter Tatchell, also of OutRage!
“The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder.
“According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.
“Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule. The victims include women who have sex outside of marriage and political opponents of the Islamist government.
“Last August, a 16 year old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, was hanged for 'acts incompatible with chasity.
“Britain’s Labour government is pursuing friendly relations with this murderous regime, including aid and trade. We urge the international community to treat Iran as a pariah state, break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran.
“If you live outside the UK, protest to the Iranian Embassy in your country, and press your government to break off diplomatic relations and impose trade sanctions against Iran – not only on account of these two executions, but also because of the many persistent and widespread human rights violations sanctioned by the Iranian clerical tyranny against women, trade unionists and minority nationalities,” said Mr Tatchell.
In the UK, address protests to: Iranian Ambassador, Embassy of Iran, 16 Prince’s Gate, London SW7 1PT. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are no diplomatic relations between the United State of America and Iran. However, Iran has an Interests Section in the Pakistani Embassy. Address: Iranian Interests Section, Pakistani Embassy, 2209 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone: (202) 965-4990. Fax (202) 965-1073.
Iran Majlis Deputies Endorse Execution of Minor.
13:00 (UK) July 21: Iran Executes Two Gay Teens In Public Hanging (UK Gay News)
July 21 update from PageOneQ.com
22:00 (UK) July 22: Condoleezza Rice Urged to Condemn Execution of Gay Iranian Teens. The Human Rights Campaign sent a letter today to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking her to condemn the recent execution of two gay teens in Iran as well as other horrific human rights abuses against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the globe.
19:45 (UK) July 23: Following Gay Executions, Putin Asked to Stop Diplomatic and Trade Relations With Iran. Russian gay leaders have sent a letter to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, asking him to condemn executions of teenage gays in Iran on July 19.
20:30 (UK) July 23: Nobel Peace Prize Winner Condemns Execution of Gay Iranian Teens. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, has condemned the execution of two teenagers in Iran earlier this week.
18:00 (UK) July 26: Activists Condemn Execution of Gay Teens. Human rights groups the world over have strongly condemned the recent execution of two gay teenagers in northeastern Iran.
23:00 (UK) July 26: Despite Executions, There Is Hope For Gays in Iran. Gay Iranians speak from inside Iran to Nikolai Alekseev, head of GayRussia.ru, about life in their country in the wake of the horrific execution of two gay teens last week. [This is a "reposting" of the GayRussia.ru originally published yesterday]
15:00 (UK) July 27: Iran and USA Account for 78% of World’s Child Executions. The use of the death penalty against child offenders – people under 18 at the time of the crime – is prohibited under international law, yet a handful of countries still persist with child executions, says Amnesty International.
15:00 (UK) July 28: Flaws In Blade Report of 'Gay' Executions in Iran, Outrage! Says. News reports in the US Washington Blade and New York Blade newspapers on the execution of two teens in Iran are flawed, according to the British LGBT human rights group OutRage!, which helped break the story to the international media and human rights groups.
19:00 (UK) August 1: Gay Media's Failure to Accurately Report Adds to Growing Hatred Towards Islamic World. Op-Ed by Faisal Alam. In the wake of the recent London bombings, the Western world has been propelled into another vicious cycle of revenge against Muslims and the Islamic world. While mainstream media around the world have more accurately represented the outpouring of condemnation by Muslim organizations and institutions against the attacks in London, the gay and lesbian media in the U.S. has unfortunately succumbed once again to the false belief that Islam condones acts of violence including suicide bombings, executions of civilians and even the killing of homosexuals.