Thursday, April 20, 2006

OutRage! UK: Iran's Murder of Gays

Our friends across the pond in OutRage! UK sent this long report on the plight of our gay family members in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and since it's not posted elsewhere on the web just yet, I've decided to make it available here. Of course, I truly hope this report generates concern for Iranian gays from more Americans and gay rights groups in the U.S.


Iran's state murder of gays

Victims framed for kidnap and rape

"Deportation would be a death sentence"

Asylum urged for gay Iranian refugees

London – 20 April 2006

The Iranian government is executing gay and bisexual men under the
cover of rape and kidnapping charges, according to a major new
investigation by Simon Forbes of the UK-based gay and lesbian human
rights group OutRage!

Mr Forbes’s nine-month investigation, published today by OutRage!, is
based on information gathered from sources inside Iran. His research

- Lynchings by Iran's security forces, and 'honour killings' by
families in the south western province of Khuzestan
-Secret hangings in prison
- The method of hanging is designed to cause slow, agonising
- Internet entrapment of gay Iranians using foreign-based online gay
dating agencies
- A pattern of framing gay people on charges of kidnap, rape and
paedophilia, as the following five sample cases suggest:
- The Gorgan case where two men were publicly hanged for Lavaat
(sodomy) in November 2005
- Details of the Kermanshah case where three men were hanged in prison
in November 2005 for sodomy that was alleged to have taken the form of
the kidnap and rape of a younger male
- The Arak case of two men sentenced to death for sodomy in August
2005, which also involved the alleged kidnap and rape of a younger
male, the son of an officer
- Two cases of public execution for sodomy in Mashhad in December 2004
and July 2005 that involved suspiciously similar charges
- Claims of rape are sometimes made to save the family's honour or to
save the passive partner from execution, and are part of an Iranian
government propaganda offensive to scapegoat and demonise gay people
- Comparisons with Saudi Arabia, where it is also suggested that bogus
rape charges are levelled against gay men
- Hypocrisy of the mullah's attitudes towards the abuse of young
girls, the rape of both males and females in custody, and widespread
sodomy in religious colleges

The full, shocking report follows below.

It is the first document in a series of documents that will be
published by OutRage! in the coming weeks and months. These documents
expose the state-sanctioned torture and murder of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by the Iranian clerical

"Mr Forbes's pioneering investigation is based on information from
credible, verified sources inside Iran. It provides clear evidence of
homophobic honour killings, arrests, torture and executions," said
OutRage! spokesperson Peter Tatchell.

"His research confirms a pattern of framing same-sex lovers on charges
of kidnap and rape, in order to discredit them, discourage public
protests and deflect international condemnation.

"The information on which the Home Office bases its rejection of most
gay Iranian asylum claims is partial, badly researched and glosses
over gay human rights abuses by the Iranian regime.

"Until Iran's anti-gay laws are repealed, the UK, EU and US should
permanently halt the deportation of lesbian and gay Iranians. So long
as Iran criminalises same-sex relations, it will not be safe for gay
people to return to Iran.

"The decision in mid-April by the Dutch government to defer its
planned deportation of gay Iranian asylum seekers is a recognition
that deportees would be at serious risk of torture and execution.

“While we welcome the Dutch moratorium on deportations, we deplore its
temporary nature.

"Deportations are tantamount to a sentence of death. Any gay asylum
seeker sent back to Iran is likely to be arrested, tortured and

"Under the European Convention on Human Rights it is illegal to deport
people to countries like Iran where they would be at risk of torture
and execution," said Mr Tatchell.

Further information: Brett Lock 0770 843 5917


Iran – The State-Sponsored Torture & Murder of Lesbians & Gays Men

New evidence of how the clerical regime frames, defames and hangs

By Simon Forbes of OutRage! London, UK

With editorial input by Brett Lock and Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

The shocking photos of the execution of gay teenagers, Mahmoud 'Asgari
and Ayaz Marhoni, in the Iranian city of Mashhad on 19 July 2005,
bought home to many people for the first time the barbaric, inhuman
and violently homophobic nature of the Iranian clerical regime.

Their executions were, of course, just two of many state-sanctioned
murders of children, unchaste women, gay people, and ethnic, political
and religious dissidents.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been repeatedly condemned by Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch for widespread and severe human
rights abuses, including abuses of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people.

Limited official information about sodomy executions

Detailed and reliable figures concerning Iranian executions for Lavaat
(sodomy) are hard to come by, as the government rarely gives out
information concerning its criminal justice system. It seems
particularly reluctant to provide statistics on sodomy cases, much as
Britain and Europe were reluctant to reveal the true scale of
executions in the days when sodomy was a capital offence.

Homan, an Iranian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) exile
group, estimated that around 4,000 people had been executed for Lavaat
from 1979 until the mid-1990s. An attempt to set up a gay organisation
in the early 1980s led to 70 executions. Around 100 gay people were
sentenced to death following one raid on one private party in 1992.

A very large number were executed, or rather lynched without trial, as
the Ayatollahs began to hijack the Iranian Revolution by the end of
1979. Those killed reportedly included foreign visitors. That year gay
activists from the Lavender Crescent Society in San Francisco were
taken from the airport in Tehran shortly after their arrival and
summarily shot dead. [2] Gay and bisexual men were quite literally
hanged from trees at that time. Executions of lesbians took place as
well. [3] Additional ‘smokescreen’ charges, such as rape and kidnap,
were rarely made, seemingly because there was very little
international interest or protest at these widespread killings of LGBT
people. Since the world did not care much about the execution of
queers in those days, the tyrants in Tehran felt no need to disguise
their actions and motives.

Executions for sodomy are believed to be at a lower level in recent
years, although it may simply be that they conducted in secret and are

An informed Iranian source, for whom English is his second language,
told OutRage!: "Having said that the authority do not systematically
looking for gays in every corner to find and execute them does not
mean that the authority have changed their opinion or are somehow more
gay friendly now." [4]

According to Iranian informants, two, or possibly three, gay men were
executed in prison in the city of Khoramabad without any publicity in
the early part of 2005. [5]

OutRage!'s sources in Iran acknowledge that in small pockets of the
country, principally in the wealthier parts of Tehran, it is sometimes
possible for same-sex couples to live discretely with each other;
albeit with the ever present danger that they might be exposed and
face lethal punishment. In truth, nowhere in Iran is truly safe.

To say that some parts of Iran are safer than others for queers in
2006 is the equivalent of saying that some parts of Germany were safer
than others for Jews in 1935.

Our Iranian informants are at pains to stress that although gays are
not the number one target of the regime and although there is not a
permanent, systematic, universal witch-hunt of LGBT people in every
corner of the country at all times, this does not mean gays are not at

Gay and bisexual men can meet in certain parks. They can contact each
other via gay chat rooms on foreign-based gay websites. Private gay
parties do take place in the major cities.

But this all happens very discretely and is very dangerous. The
participants risk entrapment, arrest, torture and even execution.

In other words, some gay life exists in Iran but it is underground and
precarious. An OutRage! contact inside the country is adamant (in his
own unedited words, as a second-language English speaker):

"It [the holding of secret gay parties and so on] does NOT mean that
gays are not executed and killed because of their sexuality. In Iran,
everything depends on which city or which part of the country you are
living in, and it depends on the judges as well. Unfortunately many of
gays arrest or killing are not reported in the media." [6]

Internet entrapment of gay men

To catch gay men, the Iranian authorities are increasingly resorting
to entrapment via internet chat rooms. They arrange a date online,
turn up at the agreed rendezvous point, and then arrest and charge the

This is confirmed by Amir, a 22-year-old gay Iranian from the city of
Shiraz, who was arrested by Iran’s morality police.

Through a Persian translator, Amir gave the US journalist Doug Ireland
a firsthand account of the anti-gay crackdown.

Ireland wrote it up on his blog:

'Amir set up a meeting with a man he met through a Yahoo gay chat
room. When his date turned out to be a member of the sex police, Amir
was arrested and taken to Intelligence Ministry headquarters, "a very
scary place," he says. "There I denied that I was gay—but they showed
me a printout from the chat room of my messages and my pictures."

'Then, says Amir, the torture began. "There was a metal chair in the
middle of the room—they put a gas flame under the chair and made me
sit on it as the metal seat got hotter and hotter. They threatened to
send me to an army barracks where all the soldiers were going to rape
me. The leader told one of the other officers to take [a soft drink]
bottle and shove it up my ass, screaming, 'This will teach you not to
want any more cock!' I was so afraid of sitting in that metal chair as
it got hotter and hotter that I confessed. Then they brought out my
file and told me that I was a 'famous faggot' in Shiraz. They beat me
up so badly that I passed out and was thrown, unconscious, into a
holding cell.

'"When I came to, I saw there were several dozen other gay guys in the
cell with me. One of them told me that after they had taken him in,
they beat him and forced him to set up dates with people through chat
rooms—and each one of those people had been arrested; those were the
other people in that cell with me."

'Eventually tried, Amir was sentenced to 100 lashes. "I passed out
before the 100 lashes were over. When I woke up, my arms and legs were
so numb that I fell over when they picked me up from the platform on
which I'd been lashed. They had told me that if I screamed, they would
beat me even harder—so I was biting my arms so hard, to keep from
screaming, that I left deep teeth wounds in my own arms."

'After this entrapment and public flogging, Amir's life became
unbearable. He was rousted regularly at his home by the basiji (a
para-police made up of thugs recruited from the criminal classes and
the lumpen unemployed) and by agents of the Office for Promotion of
Virtue and Prohibition of Vice, which represses "moral
deviance"—things like boys and girls walking around holding hands,
women not wearing proper Islamic dress and prostitution.

'Says Amir, "In one of these arrests, Colonel Javanmardi told me that
if they catch me again that I would be put to death, 'just like the
boys in Mashhad.' He said it just like that, very simply, very
explicitly. He didn’t mince words. We all know that the boys who were
hanged in Mashhad were gay—the rape charges against them were trumped
up, just like the charges of theft and kidnapping against them. When
you get arrested, you are forced by beatings, torture and threats to
confess to crimes you didn’t commit. It happens all the time, and has
to friends of mine."'

This compelling testimony by Amir to Doug Ireland reveals the
widespread use of internet entrapment, a threat of execution for mere
homosexuality, the torture of gay men to extract false confessions,
and the implied admission by an Iranian colonel that the youths in
Mashhad were hanged because of their sexuality – and not because they
raped and kidnapped, as was officially claimed by the Iranian
authorities at the time of their hanging.

Honour killing of LGBTs

In the some parts of Iran the risk of death for homosexuality is
extremely high, either at the hands of the security forces or at the
hands of the individual's own family. In the south western province of
Khuzestan, from which Mahmoud and Ayaz came, a gay man is known as a
raguuS or "little dancing boy", a term suggesting effeminacy and
sexual passivity. [7] Ewen Macmillan, an expert on life in the Ahwaz
region, says:

"RawaagiiS (plural of raaguuS) are generally killed in Ahwaz, by the
security forces or by their male kin, in one of three ways:
strangulation, throat-slitting or decapitation. If the homosexual
youths are killed by the security forces, their corpses -- frequently
decapitated but accompanied by their heads -- are left in the street.
Their families therefore have a certain tragic incentive to kill them
more humanely and bury them secretly. In addition, amongst Iran’s Arab
minority, male relatives of homosexual youths regard their murder as
vindicating the honour of the clan and, indeed, of their ethnic group
as a whole. [Name deleted] said that he knew of another youth from
al-Aamiri [in Ahwaz], who was a raaguuS, and who had expressed the
wish to escape Iran, but who was unfortunately killed before he was
able to do so." [8]

In some cases a member of one or other of their own families report
them to the authorities, as happened in the case of Mahmoud and Ayaz.

In Khuzestan, this included an instance where a "mother is alleged to
have found him (her son) and his lover having sex and informed the
authorities. The actions of the mother -- the consequences of which
she may at the time have been unaware -- are alleged to have resulted
in the killing of her own son." [9]

Another documented case in the same province involved Sayyid RiDa
Mussawi. Just as 'Iyaad Marhuuni used the Persian name Ayaz, RiDa used
the Persian name Shahraam about town. He was not killed by authorities
but beheaded by some his brothers and cousins in 2002 in the city of
Ahwaz/Ahvaz. The family members were arrested but they were later
released when the parents of Shahraam forgave the killers, as
permitted under Shari'a Law. Shahraam was murdered because he became
known as a raaguuS and specifically because he was known as the
partner of another gay man, who later fled to Britain. [10]

The level of honour killings varies wildly within the country. In
Tehran they are said to be rare, but in the western provinces, such as
Khuzestan, Luristan and Kurdistan, and in the south eastern province
of Baluchistan, they are said to be much more common. [11] Public
lynchings of LGBT people by the security forces also seem to be
largely confined to the rebellious province of Khuzestan where, as a
matter of course, they act outside the legal system with scarcely any
restraint or respect for the local population (Khuzestan is inhabited
by Ahwazi Arabs, who are a severely persecuted ethnic minority).

Secret executions in prisons

In recent times, many executions for Lavaat (sodomy) seem to be have
been conducted inside prisons, rather than in public. These secret
executions take place behind closed doors. They are not publicly
notified. The local population is unaware they have happened. In the
period 1979-89, public executions were much more common. According to
a former woman resident of the city of Mashhad, such hangings “were
not a rare event and homosexuals were regularly killed like that” when
she lived there. [12]

I have uncovered references to a case in 2000 or 2001, where a student
was sentenced to death for Lavaat. As is typical, his execution was
not publicised. Since it was not publicised, if the death sentence was
carried out, it probably took place in prison, not in public. We
cannot know for sure that he was hanged, but since his guilt was clear
and he had committed same-sex acts repeatedly over a long period of
time, it seems unlikely that the sentence was commuted. He was
defended by Mr K, who later gave evidence about this case at UK asylum
appeal tribunal. [13]

According to Mr K's evidence "The student had been sentenced to death
because he had confessed. They had found sperm in his body. There
was no way for him but to confess. He had carried out homosexual acts
for a long time with another student, and his room mate had realised
this and reported it to the people responsible for the dormitories,
and they had put the person under surveillance and entered the room at
the time he was arrested. He knew he would receive the death sentence
and he had confessed." [14]

The Tehran case

On 14 March 2005 two gay men were sentenced to death for consensual
Lavaat in Tehran. [15] The younger man, a wrestler, confessed that he
had shot a video of them having sex together for the purpose of
extortion. Unfortunately, the wrestler's wife found the video and out
of curiosity played it. In a fury she took it to the Qazis who watched
it as well. Both were arrested brought before the court and sentenced
to death. [16] The act committed was presumably anal sex, which is
punishable by death for the first offence.

It would appear that only the younger man confessed. Confession by one
man would not automatically lead to the conviction of the other. The
older man was therefore probably convicted through "knowledge of the
judge" under Article 120 of the Penal Code.

In practice, Lavaat is probably much easier to prove without
confession than some people think, at least in the case of the passive
partner. Medical evidence of penetration may well be sufficient. As we
have already heard, 22 year old Amir, from the city of Shiraz, was
threatened by the police that if he was sent for a medical examination
and they found penetration he would be sentenced to death. [17]

It is not known if or when the sentence in this 14 March case in
Tehran was carried out. Stoning is a possible sentence because the
young wrestler was married, and stoning is the traditional mode of
execution for married people who commit sodomy.

Otherwise, hanging is the normal method of killing 'sodomites'.
Although not as cruel as stoning, it should be born in mind that the
way it is carried out is designed to ensure that the neck is not
broken. Instead, death is induced by slow, painful strangulation.
Relatively thin ropes or even wire are often used to maximise
suffering. The knot is placed at the side of the neck to prolong the
agony. [18] We can see from photographs in the case of Mahmoud and
Ayaz that death did not come quickly. [19] The windpipe can take
several minutes to be slowly squeezed shut. [20]

The Gorgan case

Another public execution, in November 2005, was in the northern town
of Gorgan near the Caspian Sea. The sole internal Iranian press report
read as follows: "Execution of two criminals:- Gorgan – Kayhan
reporter: Sentence of execution of two people by the name of Mokhtar N
and 'Ali A for the crime of homosexuality (Lavaat) came to be carried
out in the Shaheed Bahonar Square, Gorgan. The criminal records of
these two people [included] kidnapping, knife-wielding, rape (tajaavoz
beh ‘onf), harassment and fighting. They were aged 24 and 25
respectively." [21]

The men were publicly hanged from two cranes. Unlike the Mashhad
hangings in July 2005, photography of the execution was actively
discouraged, although a poor quality picture was sent to the Persian
Gay and Lesbian Organisation. [22] A report by Iran Focus suggested
that the reason for the execution was simply for Lavaat and that the
other crimes listed were previous convictions. [23]

It was Iran Focus who spotted this small article, which could easily
have been missed. Subsequently Human Rights Watch, who are not fans of
Iran Focus, also suggested that the executions were for consensual
homosexual conduct. [24]

Amnesty International wrote to the Iranian authorities about the case.
As of early February 2006, four months later, they had received no
reply. [25] The Dutch Foreign Ministry, who have a cordial
relationship with their Iranian counterparts, were given more
consideration. The Dutch were assured that the convictions were not
for "homosexual relations" but for "kidnapping, rape and extortion".
[26] It is worth noting that the Kayhan article makes no mention of
extortion in the list of charges.

The details of the Gorgan case are unclear. The cited string of
charges could refer to past convictions or to convictions at their
trial. Moreover, the article is very badly worded. Either way, this
list of charges is all too familiar in gay cases and needs to be
treated with suspicion.

Paula Ettelbrick, of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
Commission, said shortly after these executions: "It's clear that a
pattern is emerging in which young men are executed as couples and
that the crimes they allegedly committed always involve some form of
sexual assault of another male." [27]

The Kermanshah case

Also in November 2005, three men were hanged in a prison in the city
of Kermanshah. In this case they were accused of kidnapping and rape
(tajaavoz) of a 19 year old. [28]

For more details about this triple execution, and the executions in
the preceding Gorgan case, see Doug Ireland’s expose:

This report from Doug Ireland also includes an interview with Mojtaba,
a 27 year old gay man from the city of Shiraz. His partner was
arrested and Motjaba narrowly escaped arrest by fleeing to Turkey. The
fate of his arrested partner is unknown.

Two cases in Mashhad

In the city of Mashhad, there have been two relatively recent cases of
pairs of males being executed, at least one of which involved
juveniles. Both instances involved an almost identical string of
charges. There is the hanging of Mahmoud and Ayaz in July 2005. The
other case was at the end of December 2004 and was reported in the
Iranian newspaper Kayhan. [29]

Evidence received from people in Mashhad confirms that the hanged gay
teenagers, Mahmoud 'Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, were lovers, not rapists
as the regime alleges. Moreover, extensive investigations reveal that
the regime's claims against the youths are riddled with
inconsistencies, contradictions and implausibilities. A major
investigative report will be released soon, exposing the fabrications
and lies of the Iranian regime concerning these two executed gay

In both the Mashhad cases, sodomy charges appear to have been
embroidered with additional, non-consensual charges, probably in part
to discourage international condemnation and protests. The authorities
presumably reasoned that there would not be much international
sympathy for people executed for sexual assault.

As we have seen in each of these different cases, whenever men are
executed for sodomy, the defendants are invariably accused of the
kidnap and rape of a younger male. Such allegations need to be treated
with extreme scepticism, as they tend to follow a suspiciously
stereotypical formula.

The tactic of defaming the victims

This current tactic of adding charges of rape, child abuse and kidnap
to the sodomy charges against gay and bisexual men is in marked
contrast to the early days of the Islamic Republic. In the 1980s, a
period when even most western democracies were avowedly homophobic,
there was no need to disguise the execution of homosexuals. No one
gave a damn. Even Amnesty International ignored the plight of
terrorised LGBT people.

Since the early days of theocratic rule in Iran, much of world has
moved on, with a growing understanding of LGBT people, and an
increased revulsion against homophobic persecution.

The Iranian dictatorship now realises it is not good PR to execute
people for merely being gay. That risks an international outcry. To
pre-empt condemnation, the Iranians now craftily pin on same-sex
lovers additional charges involving paedophilia, violence and rape. It
is a clever tactic that has hook-winked even some human rights

There may be a further explanation for the standard Iranian formula of
charges of homosexuality being often accompanied by charges of kidnap
and rape. The regime clearly does not want its people to view same-sex
relations as something a respectable person might engage in with
consent. That could present Lavaat as something desirable and
positive, and this might encourage tolerance – and even curiosity and
experimentation. The clerical regime wants to depict sodomy in the
worst possible light to deter and discourage its practice. To do this,
it needs to present gay and lesbian people as repellent, dangerous
individuals. In these circumstances, the mere charge of Lavaat is not
sufficient. To prompt revulsion and support for executions,
homosexuality needs to be associated in the public mind with violence
and child abuse.

This is a very familiar tactic used by despotic regimes to discredit
and marginalise dissidents. History teaches us that scapegoated and
demonised minorities are often subjected to false smears and slurs,
sometimes of a sexual nature. During the period of segregation in the
southern United States, for example, false charges of rape were often
pinned on young black men, and these charges were then used to justify
lynchings or judicial executions. As we know, the real motive was to
punish black men for consensual interracial sex, while 'saving' the
reputation of white women.

Comparisons with Saudi executions

As in Iran, it is not uncommon in Saudi Arabia for allegations of
sodomy by force to accompany allegations of consensual sodomy.

There have been at least two cases of multiple executions of
'sodomites' in the Saudi city of Abha in recent years - six were
beheaded in 2000 and three were beheaded 2002. In one of these cases
we are asked to believe that in a society where homosexuality is taboo
they went round assaulting various people who apparently knew of and
disapproved of their behaviour. In both these cases, it was claimed
they had sodomised young boys in addition to each other. [30]

Such claims must be treated with great scepticism. For a start, Saudi
Arabia is a country that makes liberal use of torture to get
confessions. Furthermore, the motive in fabricating stories of 'male
rape' or 'child abuse' by 'sodomites' is almost certainly to neuter
any international outcry over the executions. It is hoped that people
in the West will conclude "it served them right".

The Arak case

In the city of Arak in Iran, two men were sentenced to death for
Lavaat towards the end of August 2005. [31] Their case seems to have
been under appeal. The rumour that they were due to be executed on 28
August appears to have been false, as they hadn’t even been tried when
that rumour first circulated. [32] It was claimed that they were
attracted to another man who refused their advances. It was further
alleged that they abducted this man and forcibly sodomised him. Some
sources within Iran regard this story as plausible. There was medical
evidence used to prove penetration, although this penetration could,
of course, have been consensual. [33]

Some Iranians are, however, still doubtful and fear that this, too,
may be a trumped up charge. One cause of such suspicions is that the
alleged victim was said to be the son of an officer. [34] Sources
suggest the father was an officer in the regular army, the Artesh. The
allegation of forced sex may have been made to save the family the
shame of having a 'sodomite' son.

No further information has been forthcoming about the Arak case since
last August. We do not know whether these men have been executed or
are still on death row.

Claims of rape to avoid execution

Claims of sexual assault by the passive partner are not uncommon in
Iranian sodomy cases, as they know this is their only chance of
escaping death. I recall a case about 15 to 20 years ago (the full
details of which I no longer possess), in which two men who lived with
each other were being tried for sodomy. One claimed that the other man
had kept forcing him into sodomy and doing to him all manner of other
same-sex acts, including forcible fellatio. The other man sat
listening to all this impassively, but at one point said words to the
effect: "he was a gay and wanted sex". The mullahs believed the latter
man and they were both sentenced to death and executed.

Iran's hypocrisy concerning sexual abuse

It would be a serious mistake to think that the regime is genuinely
concerned about preventing sexual violence and the sexual abuse of

The late ruler of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, treated lightly the
subject of sex with young girls. He said:

"A man can marry a girl younger than nine years of age, even if the
girl is still a baby being breastfed. A man, however, is prohibited
from having intercourse with a girl younger than nine, other sexual
act such as for[e]play, rubbing, kissing and sodomy is allowed. A man
having intercourse with a girl younger than nine years of age has not
co[m]mitted a crime, but only an infraction, if the girl is not
permanently damaged. If the girl, however, is permanently damaged, the
man must provide for her all her life." [35] Khomeini himself married
his wife, Batul, in 1930 when she was aged ten and he was 28 [36]

Rape of both males and females is not uncommon among those held in
custody. Women and girls on death row are often raped by prison
guards the night before the execution to ensure they are not virgins
and do not go to paradise. [37] Sometimes the Mullahs join in with the
prison guards. [38]

Amnesty International has evidence that prisoners are subjected to
"various forms of sexual abuse, including rape of both men and women
prisoners. Many former prisoners interviewed by Amnesty International
became so distressed when asked about sexual abuse that they broke
down and could not describe their experiences." [39]

Hypocritically, the regime tacitly sanctions this sexual violation of
prisoners. It is a known method of torture, used by the regime to
break the will of detainees and to get them to make confessions to
crimes, both real and imaginary.

It should not, of course, be suggested that such sexual abuse is
unique to Iran or unknown in the supposedly "civilized" West. A gay
asylum seeker aged 17, who had fled to Britain in 2002, was repeatedly
subjected to sexual assaults by staff at a UK asylum reception centre.
[40] This resulted in serious mental trauma.

People of low social status in any country can be abused in this way
because the authorities know they won’t be deemed to be credible
complainants. Just as LGBT people are considered worthless by the
regime in Iran, so are asylum seekers in the UK, especially gay asylum
seekers. The Home Office views them with suspicion and contempt. Most
are refused refugee status.

Another unofficially tolerated form of Lavaat (sodomy) occurs in
religious colleges. Iranians tell me that young trainee mullahs will
often have sex with each other in such places, with impunity. The
rules of Islam are apparently for others, not themselves. It is not
just the Anglican and Catholic churches that are full of sexual

On this evidence, many of Iran’s Islamic judges, the Qazis, who
pronounce sentences of death on sodomites, are likely to have engaged
in same-sex relations.

They order the whipping and hanging of men and teenage boys for acts
they have probably done themselves when younger. They are not much
different in this respect from skinhead and other ‘queer bashers’ who
attack obvious 'queers' while having guilt-ridden sex within their own
peer group.

Conclusion: The Islamic Republic of Iran is qualitatively more
homophobic than almost 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


[1] Peter Tatchell in Gay Times October 1995

[2] Johann Hari in Attitude 20th May 2004

[3] Amir Taheri 1985 p263

[4] Letter to Outrage! 04th August 2005

[5] E-mail from Iran to Outrage! 05th August 2005

[6] Letter to Outrage! 4th August 2005

[7] Evidence of Ewen Macmillan in asylum appeal of ‘X’ 10th June 2004

[8] Evidence of Ewen Macmillan in asylum appeal of ‘X’ 10th June 2004

[9] Evidence of Ewen Macmillan in asylum appeal of ‘X’ 10th June 2004

[10] Evidence of Ewen Macmillan in asylum appeal of ‘X’ 10th June

[11] Evidence of Ewen Macmillan in asylum appeal of ‘X’ 10th June 2004
& personal communication

[12] Letter to Pink Paper 1st September 2005

[13] RM and BB (Homosexuals) Iran CG [2005] UKIAT 00117 p13

[14] RM and BB (Homosexuals) Iran CG [2005] UKIAT 00117 p13

[15] Ettemaad 1383/12/25 (15th March 2005) [7th article in link]ÍæÇÏË

[16] Ettemaad 1383/12/25 (15th March 2005)

[17] Doug Ireland in Gay City News, 22nd September 2005

[18] Dr. Hamiz 2004 & Saleha Darani

[19] Simon Forbes – Place of Martyrdom, April 2006 p3

[20] Dr. Hamiz 2004 & Saleha Darani

[21] Kayhan 1384/08/22 (13th November 2005) translated with input from
Bahram Soroush and Hadi Ghaemi.

[22] E-mail from Payam Shirazi to Simon Forbes, 22nd January 2006

[23] Iran Focus 13th November 2005

[24] Human Rights News, 22nd November 2005

[25] Amnesty International - AI Index: MDE 13/010/2006, 16th February

[26] Letter by Rita Verdonk 5403360/06/DVB, 28th February 2006 p2/5

[27] IGLHRC Press Release 16th November 2005

[28] Iran Newspaper 1384/08/30 (21st November 2005)

[29] Kayhan 1383/10/12 (1st January 2005)

[30] Planet Out 14th July 2000; Reuters 01st January 2002; Washington
Blade 11th January 2002

[31] ISNA Markazi 1384/05/25 (15th August 2005)
ISNA Markazi 1384/06/01(22nd August 2005)

[32] Samii letter in Michael Petrelis blog 29th August 2005

[33] Michael Petrelis blog 15th August 2005

[34] Michael Petrelis blog 15th August 2005

[35] Khomeini trans Parvin Darabi

[36] Amir Taheri 1985 pp 89-90

[37] Dr. Hamiz 2004 & Saleha Darani

[38] Doug Ireland 18th August 2005

[39] Iran: Briefing (1987, page 10) in Evidence of Ewen Macmillan in
asylum appeal of ‘X’ 10th June 2004 p24

[40] HS (Homosexuals: Minors, Risk on Return) Iran [2005] UKAIT 00120,
page 12

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