Monday, June 26, 2006


Iran: Stop Killing Gays & Kids!

19 July 2006 = International Day of Action Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran


(London – 26 June 2006) To mark the first anniversary of Iran's hanging of two gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, gay campaign groups OutRage! and IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia, have declared 19 July 2006 an International Day of Action Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran (IDAAHOPI).

They are calling for worldwide protests against the “murderous homophobic Iranian regime” and “in commemoration of Asgari and Marhoni, the two gay teenagers executed in the city of Mashhad on 19 July last year.”

Shocking new revelations concerning the executions follow below.

Photos of the hanging of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni can be found here.

Here is the updated list of cities participating in the July 19 actions. The time for each event is local time. Please link to this page for updates on the day of protests:


Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Location: Homo-Monument(Keizersgracht canal near Westerkerk)
Time: 9 pm
Contacts: René van Soeren of COC, rvansoeren@coc.nl, Mike Tidmus, tidmus@mac.com

Brussels, Belgium
Location: Brussels Stock Exchange
Time: 8:00 pm
Contact: Stephen Barris, stephenbarris@ilga.org

Chicago, Illinois
Location: Millennium Park (Pritzker Pavilion entrance)
Time: 5:30
Contact: Gay Liberation Network, LGBTliberation@aol.com

Dublin, Ireland
Location: Dublin City Centre, The Central Bank, Dame Street
Time: 5:30 pm. Speakers to include gay Senator David Norris
Contact: BeLonG To Youth Project, belongto@eircom.net

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Location: To be announced
Time: To be announced
Contact: Michael James, MJames@OurIndependent.com

London, United Kingdom
Location: House of Commons, Committee Room 12
Time: 6:30 pm
Contacts: Peter Tatchell, peter@tatchell.freeserve.co.uk
& Brett Lock, brettlock@gmail.com

Marseilles, France
Location: Le Vieux Port
Time: 7 pm
Contacts: Philippe Colomb, philippe.colomb@si-lgbt.org , and Hussein Bourgi husseinbourgi@hotmail.com

Mexico City, Mexico
Location: Contempo Cine, Londres 161
Time: 7:00 pm
Contact: Enkidu Magazine, info@enkidumagazine.com

Moscow, Russia
Location and Time to be announced in Moscow at the last minute, to prevent disruption by fascists or police
Contact: Nicolas Alexeyev, nicolas_alexeyev@yahoo.com

New York, New York (Action #1)
Location: Iranian Mission to the U.N., 622 Third Avenue (at 40th St)
Time: 5:00 pm
Contact: Andy Humm, andyhumm@aol.com

New York, New York (Action #2)
Location: LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th Street
Time: 6:00 pm
Contact: Lisa Levy, llevy@iglhrc.org

Provincetown, Massachusetts
Location: Town Hall
Time: 5:00 pm
Contact: Andrew Sullivan, andsul@aol.com

San Diego, California
Location: U.S. Federal Building, 880 Front Street
Time: 4:00 pm
Contact: Michael Mussman, michaelmussman@yahoo.com

San Francisco, California
Location: Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets
Time: 5:00 pm
Contact: Michael Petrelis, mpetrelis@aol.com

Seattle, Washington
Location: Seattle Central Community College Plaza, Pine and Broadway
Time: 7:00 pm
Contact: George Bakan, sgn2@sgn.org

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Location: Calvary Cathedral, 500 S. Main Avenue
Time: 9:00 pm
Contact: Kathy Knobloch, thecenter.colc@midconetwork.com

Stockholm, Sweden
Location: Iranian Embassy, Elfviksvägen Västra Yttringe gård Lidingö
Time: 5:00 pm
Contact: Bill Schiller, bill.schiller@sr.se

Tehran, Iran
Location: Not to be announced
Time: All day and evening
Contact: Arsham Parsi, arsham@pglo.net

Toronto, Canada
Location: University of Toronto Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle
Time: 5:00 pm
Contact: Arsham Parsi, arsham@pglo.net

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Location: Tulsa County Courthouse Place
Time: 8:30 pm
Contact: Laura A. Belmonte, Ph.D., President, Tulsa
Oklahomans for Human Rights, mobile 918-906-2134

Vancouver, Canada
Location: Vancouver Art Gallery - Robson Plaza
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Contact: Finn Kovaltsenko, aidengreer@shaw.ca

Vienna, Austria
Location: Office of IranAir, A-Wien 1010 Opernring
Time: To be announced
Contact: Kurt Krikler, Kurt.Krickler@hosiwien.at

Warsaw, Poland
Location: 22 Królowej Aldony Street
Time: 9 P.M.
Contact: Lukasz Palucki, luke.santi@eranet.pl

Washington, District of Columbia
Location: Dupont Circle Fountain
Time: 5:00 pm
Contact: Rob Anderson, rcand@mac.com


The demand of the global 19 July protests is:

Iran: Stop Killing Gays! Stop Killing Kids!

Some groups, like OutRage! in London, are also urging:

1. End all executions in Iran, especially the execution of minors.

2. Stop the arrest, torture and imprisonment of Iranian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and repeal the Iranian penal code’s criminalisation of same-sex relationships.

3. Halt the deportation to Iran of LGBT asylum seekers and other victims of Tehran’s persecution.

4. Support Iranians struggling for democracy, social justice and human rights.

5. Oppose foreign military intervention in Iran; regime change must come from within – by and for the Iranian people themselves.


“OutRage! believes the queer rights struggle in Iran should be part of - not separate from - the broader democratic and human rights struggle,” said Peter Tatchell, spokesperson for OutRage!

"When protesting against the executions last year, we received strong support from the Iranian women’s movement and from Iranian political dissidents and labour movement activists. Linking up with these progressive social forces within Iran is the key to advancing LGBT human rights in that country. We urge lesbians and gays, and our straight allies, to organise protest actions on 19 July in cities all over the world. Protest outside the Iranian Embassy. Bombard the Iranian Ambassador with protest letters, faxes and emails,” urged Mr Tatchell.

Louis-Georges Tin, coordinator of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), who is also calling for global protests, added:

“Something special has happened since 19 July 2005: an international movement is emerging in solidarity with the two boys and all the victims of Iran’s homophobic regime. The political and religious authorities in Iran should understand that their homophobia is now regarded as an international scandal. On 19 July, we are standing for life, for liberty, and for love. We are standing in commemoration of Mahmoud and Ayaz and all the victims of Tehran’s homophobic tyranny. We also stand in hope, looking forward to a better future for the gays and lesbians of Iran," stated Mr Tin.

The US coordinator of the 19 July protests, Michael Petrelis of SanFrancisco, said: "Only one American city joined last year’s the international protests against Iran's hanging of the two gay teenagers. This year, gays in at least three US cities will take to the streets on July 19. We hope more cities will join us and organise vigils for gay and lesbian Iranians. American gay rights organisations should devote more energy to tackling homophobic persecution beyond our borders. The protests on July 19 are a step towards greater US support for the global struggle for queer freedom," concluded Mr Petrelis.

In the UK, email, phone, fax and write your protests to the Iranian Ambassador:

info@iran-embassy.org.uk

Tel: 020 7225 3000
Fax: 020 7589 4440

Iranian Ambassador
Embassy of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT

Further information from OutRage! in London: Brett Lock 0770 843 5917

New revelations about the execution of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni in the Iranian city of Mashhad on 19 July 2005, based on research by Simon Forbes of OutRage! and information from contacts inside Iran:

“A year-long investigation into this case has revealed that the regime’s allegations against the two hanged youths, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, are riddled with contradictions, implausibilities and outright lies,” according to Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

“At first it was claimed by Iranian officials that they were aged 18 and 19, then that they were 19 and 21, then aged 18 and 20, and finally they made the claim that they were both above 18 at the time of their alleged crimes.

“However, the best evidence is that both youths were aged 17 when they were executed and therefore minors, aged 15 or 16, at the time of their alleged crimes. This execution of minors is in flagrant breach of international agreements the Tehran regime has signed.

“The method of hanging was specifically designed to cause a slow, painful death by strangulation.

“Concerning their crimes: at first it was claimed that they committed one rape and were child molesters, then that they had committed several rapes. By the autumn of 2005, the supporters of the regime were spreading rumours that they were serial child killers.

“Local sources in Mashhad state that Mahmoud and Ayaz were lovers, not rapists or child abusers – contrary to the homophobic propaganda of the Iranian regime and its western left-wing and Islamist apologists.

“Witnesses report seeing them together and obviously in love at a private party in 2003.

“Mahmoud and Ayaz were charged with the capital crime of homosexuality after a disapproving family member reported their relationship to the police.

“At least one, and possibly both, of the hanged boys were members of Iran’s persecuted Arab minority. Racism appears to have played a part in the stereotypical way they were portrayed by the regime as being ‘underclass’ thieves and hooligans.

“Informants inside Iran make it clear that the boys were of good character and that they came from decent, law-abiding families whose fathers had good jobs.

“The execution of Mahmoud and Ayaz conforms to a pattern of state torture and murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by the Iranian clerical regime.

“In recent years, public executions for consensual gay sex have been rarer than in the past; apparently because the regime does not want to draw attention to its failure to eradicate same-sex behaviour in the ‘Islamic paradise’ of Iran.

“In publicised executions of gay couples, the men are often accused of the kidnap and rape of a younger male. All such allegations need to be treated with extreme scepticism, as they tend to follow a suspiciously stereotypical formula.

“By instituting charges of kidnap and rape, the Iranian authorities apparently hope to discredit the victims, discourage public protests and deflect international condemnation. They calculate that there will be little Iranian or international sympathy for people hanged for crimes like abduction and sexual assault,” said Mr Tatchell.

How about organising a protest in your city?

5 comments:

Chrisco said...

Michael,


You wrote: "This year, gays in at least three US cities will take to the streets on July 19."

Don't forget there are many people who are not gay, but who support efforts like this fully, and I hope there are many different people who attend.

abtin123 said...

this is horrible. just horrible. i love iran, but i must tell you, the way it treats gays and women is very wrong.

this is harming iran socially and politically, as many anti-iran people use these sad conditions as a pretex to harm iran.

it is very sad, and the best way we can deal with this issue is head on. we must confront the government about these issues, and let them know that we are not against iran, but against the way it is treating people who should have a right to live in peace. we must make them understand that what they are doing is both immoral and politically harmful.

Anonymous said...

Michael, he's right.

It's not just gays who will protest. It's all kinds and types and everything of people everywhere.

We should welcome the support of all people of good will throughout the world.

Jeff Barea said...

My heroes have always been cowboys.

According to http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/2006july/1602.htm there's more to the story than Tatchell's description.

A local -Iranian - researcher (and supporter of this human rights cause) was quoted with a different description:

Here's the gist of the story, 5 teens were in a "semi-public place." They were allegedly in some sort of circle jerk. Some neighbor got pissed off and called the po' po's.

The most important direct quote is “Because the age of consent for men in Iran is 15, the 13 year old boy is automatically then classified raped by then 15 year old Mahmoud and 17 year old Ayaz. So, in the eyes of the Iranian law, that boy was raped."

Choose your heroes wisely, as nice as they may have been, not the best case to rally behind.

Anonymous said...

You have your heads up so far up Obamas ass it seems like you could care less about us in the military. He wants to reverse, don't ask, don't tell, and you both are OK with this, I've been in for so many years and still have to be closeted, it's great seeing people proud of being gay in the military now, you both don't know what it's like, and never will, I've got alot of strikes against me, I'm gay, hispanic, hiv, and very liberal. When I hear you both speak anymore it makes my skin crawl, you judge, but apparently don't look in the mirror. I'll never watch your show again only because you both are the most bias and arrogant people I have ever seen to this day on gay rights, it was a great show until this campaign started. I hope that maybe you should listen to the facts, instead of jumping to coclusions. I never have voted Republican but because of you two I'm going for McKain. Thank you and good bye, you lost several viewers in the military.