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UK/IRAN

 Celebrities Join London Protest Against Iran Gay Executions and Torture

 

 


Petition rejected by Iran Embassy
 

 
 

 


■ "Hanging" outside the Iranian
Embassy this afternoon during the
"Homophobia Kills" protest.


■ Peter Tatchell is interviewed for
American Q Television


■ axm editor Matt Miles gives a radio
interview.




LONDON, October 4  –  TV soap and film actor Jeremy Sheffield, gay rap star Q Boy, comedian Scott Cappurro, Big Brother contestant Josh Rafter, out gay Labour MP Chris Bryant and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell today joined a 50-strong protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London.

The protest – organised by the gay magazine axm and gay human rights group OutRage! – was part of an on-going series of global demonstrations against the Iranian government’s arrest, imprisonment, whipping and execution of gay men.

 “We are here to condemn Iran’s execution and torture of gay men, and to demand international action against the tyrannical Iranian regime” said protest co-organiser Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group OutRage!.

“The international community should issue an ultimatum to Iran: either respect human rights, or face economic sanctions.  There can be no normal relations with an abnormal regime that executes gay people, unchaste women, Muslims who renounce their faith, and political, religious and ethnic minorities.

“Two teenagers were hanged in the Iranian city of Mashhad on 19 July, on charges involving homosexual acts.  A 22 year old gay man, Amir, recently fled Iraq after being given 100 lashes.  He was lashed for merely being gay, not for having gay sex.  The lashes left his back covered in open bloody wounds.  The police warned him that if they caught him again he would be executed like the teenagers in Mashhad.

“Iranian agents, posing as gay men, have been arranging dates in gay chat rooms, luring respondents to rendezvous, and then arresting, beating and torturing them. This is part of a sustained witch-hunt of gay people by the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran.

“We express our solidarity with lesbian and gay Iranians, and with all the people of Iran who are struggling for democracy and human rights. The Ayatollah’s clerical fascist regime is the problem. There can be no freedom for any Iranian – gay or straight – while the Islamists remain in power and enforce the barbarism of Sharia law. OutRage! supports the efforts of Iranian democrats, socialists, communists, trade unionists, students, feminists and gays to overthrow the Iranian theocracy,” said Peter Tatchell.

As well as the celebrity speakers, the protest was addressed by Iranian exiles, representing pro-gay opposition groups that are battling against the butchers in Tehran.

These speakers included Maryam Kousha of the Iran Civil Rights Committee, Maziar Razi of the Iranian Workers Solidarity Network, and Bahram Soroush of the Worker’s Communist Party of Iran. These groups have backed the LGBT freedom struggle in Iran, assisting OutRage! in the translation of messages and smuggling out of Iran information about the persecution of LGBT people.

Thousands of readers have signed the axm online ‘Homophobia Kills’ petition which condemning the Iranian executions.

But the Iranian Embassy refused to accept the petition.

Instead, the petition will be delivered by openly gay Labour MP Chris Bryant to the UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw MP, with a request that he calls on the Iranian government to halt its persecution of the LGBT community in Iran.

Two gay teenagers were publicly executed in Iran on 19 July 2005. The youths were hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in North East Iran.

They were sentenced to death by Court No. 19. Iran enforces Islamic Sharia law, which dictates the death penalty for gay sex. One youth was aged 18 and the other was a minor under the age of 18 at the time of execution.

They admitted to having gay sex (probably under torture) but claimed in their defence 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.

Their length of detention suggests that they committed the so-called offences more than a year earlier, when they were possibly around the age of 16 or 17.

“Although the Iranian government claims the youths were executed for the rape of a 13 year old boy, underground gay groups inside Iran tell us that the two teenagers were lovers,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

“They say the Iranian government routinely makes up false allegations – such as rape, drug-taking and spying – to discredit the people it executes and to discourage public protests,” Mr Tatchell said.

While the images of the two teens immediately prior to their execution shocked the world in July, a far more graphic photograph was released today by Outrage!.  It shows the executed teenagers with the rope still around their necks and the crowd in Edalat Square.

The photograph, slightly out of focus, has “ISNA” burned at the bottom.  ISNA is the Iranian Student News Agency, the source of the earlier images.

This photograph is VERY GRAPHIC and might well cause distress.  Click HERE to view

RELATED:

Gay Executions and Torture: Does Protesting Really Help? Yes, Says Iranian Exile.  Commentary.  We often wonder whether protests outside Embassies have any effect.  It might make us feel good as we wave a banner condemning some atrocity or another, as was the case outside the Iranian Embassy in London today when gay rights in Iran – or the complete lack of them – took centre stage.

LINKS

Outrage! website
axm website
Iran Civil Rights Committee website
Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization website

 

 

 

 

Recent Articles

October 3: 
Iran: 
Star Support for London Demo Against Brutal Iranian Treatment of Gays A number of stars have backed tomorrow’s demonstration at the Iranian Embassy in London and the international petition organised by the monthly UK gay magazine axm.  The magazine has joined forces with Outrage!, the UK gay human rights organisation, to organise the “Homophobia Kills” protest against the homophobic atrocities in Iran outside the country’s Embassy at 1pm tomorrow (Tuesday October 4).

Nepal:  Call to Intervene to Help Release Five Imprisoned Gay Metis in Nepal, by Sunil Pant in Kathmandu.  Five metis were arrested last night about 10pm in Kantipath while they were on their way to the Thamel area of the Nepali capitol. [Reports from Nepal earlier today said that there were three metis arrested]. They were Suntali Lama (age about 22 years), Neema Lama (age 22), Kanchhi Lama (age 25), Bipasa Rai (aged about 19) and Deepa (age 22).

Nepal:  Three More Gay Metis Arrested and Beaten by Nepali Police.  Reports are coming in of the arrest of another three metis in Nepal. A meti is a M-to-F transgendered person.  “The police are becoming more and more brutal,” said a spokesperson at the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s LGBT human rights and HIV/AIDS organisation.

October 2: 

Lithuania:  Anti-Gay Demonstration in Vilnius, by Juris Lavrikovs.  Around 50 people gathered on the Europe Square in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on Friday to protest against possible gay pride march and ‘spread’ of homosexuality in Lithuania.  All major Christian denominations expressed their support for this demonstration.

October 1: 
UK/Iran:   
New Iran Protest Over Treatment of Gays at London Embassy A new protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London is to be staged next week.  UK gay human rights group Outrage!, which last July broke the news to the world of the execution of two gay teenagers, has joined forces with UK gay lifestyle monthly axm to spearhead a further demonstration at the Embassy on Tuesday (October 4).

September 29: 
Iran:   
“Please do not leave us alone,” Iranian Gays Urgently Appeal to World, by Doug Ireland.  The Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO) has appealed to North American activists for help in mobilizing support for their campaign against the vicious, lethal, anti-gay crackdown taking place in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The anti-gay pogrom in Iran includes arrests and torture of gay people, executions of gay Iranians on trumped up charges, and a well-organized Internet entrapment campaign by Iran's religious sex police that is ensnaring gay Iranians daily.

UK:  Anti-Gay Christian Voice Director on BBC’s Question Time.  Stephen Green, the national director of the vehemently anti-gay Christian fundamentalist Christian Voice, is one of the panellists on tonight’s Question Time (BBC1 at 10.35pm), which comes live from Brighton at the end of the Labour Party conference.

September 28: 
Nepal: 
OutRage! Condemns Police Brutality Against Gays in Nepal.  The UK LGBT human rights group OutRage! has today condemned the police assaults of gay metis last weekend in Kathmandu, Nepal (see UK Gay News report of yesterday).

Turkey:  Gay Rights Violated by Turkey, Says Human Rights Watch.  The threat by Turkish officials to close down an organization defending lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s rights violates basic freedoms of association and expression, Human Rights Watch said last night.

Belarus/Sweden/UK:  European Push to Help Belarus Gays.  Concerns are growing over human rights of gays in Belarus, dubbed by activists as “Europe’s last dictatorship”.

UK (England and Wales):  Your Rights Section:  Employment in the Gay Community and the Law

September 27: 
 
Nepal: 
HIV Victim Beaten As Police Taunt Gays In Nepal.  A Nepalese meti afflicted with HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, was savagely beaten by police and detained in a Kathmandu police station for a day before being released on payment of what was effectively a bribe.

September 26: 
Moldova: 
Moldova: Discrimination Against Gays, Lesbians Is Inadmissible, Says Council of Europe.  Moldova must guarantee the fundamental rights of gays and lesbians, a report from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) says.

September 24:
Russia: 
Cashman Pledges Support for Moscow Gay Pride.  Michael Cashman, the out-gay Member of the European Parliament, has invited the Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov to Strasbourg for a “summit” on gay pride events and of LGBT rights to expression, demonstrations and meetings.

September 23: 
Iran: 
Holding Iran Accountable for Violating Gay Human Rights, by Paula Ettelbrick.  The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, joined the largest gathering ever of world leaders last week at the United Nations without one question being asked about his country’s continued violations of international human rights law. Iran has signed both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Both forbid the execution of any person under the age of 18 for any crime. Yet there has been a rash of public executions in Iran that have involved youth or were related to sexuality and gender identity.

Posted: 4 October2005 at 18:00 (UK time)

 

 

 

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