Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Has Saudi Arabia Beheaded Two Homosexuals?

An article from the French gay magazine Tetu was posted earlier today on the Gays Without Borders group Yahoo listserv, claiming that two homosexuals were executed in recent days by the Saudi Arabian government.

I've searched the web sites of numerous Saudi Arabian newspapers and for the Interior Ministry, and found nothing related to the alleged beheadings. With word now spreading about the French story, I'm hopeful more details and reports will soon emerge on this matter.

At the end of this entry you'll find an excerpt from the latest U.S. State Departmentn human rights report on Saudi Arabia's violations of human rights protections for homosexuals.

Here is a rough translation of the Tetu story into English, followed by the original French piece:

December 26, in Riyadh, the Ministry of Interior announced the beheading by saber of two Saudi men.

Sentenced to death for the rape of a man, these two homosexuals had their names published in the press of the Wahhabi kingdom.

They were accused of "having enter" into the room of a man while he was sleeping, of having hit him, tied him and then violated him.

An information that could not be verified: a campaign of repression into the homosexual community, similar to the one initiated by Iran in 2007, is "drying up" the sources of information in Saudi Arabia.

Since March 2008, in fact, hundreds of suspected homosexuals were arrested during parties.

Last summer, 55 young men were arrested by the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a kind of morality police, at a gay dance party (read article Aug. 5).

No information had "filtered" on their fate since this time.

On 11 August, two Filipino illegal prostitutes were arrested, according to their embassy, they were subject to charges of sodomy.

In the end of 2007, two men were sentenced to 7,000 lashes (read article October 8).

The crime of sodomy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

But, after protests from a part of the "international community", the kingdom declared that from 2002 they "only" apply the highest penalty (death penalty) in cases of pedophilia, rape, sexual assault or murder.

But we know that in the neighbor Iran, death sentences for "rape" mask a bloody repression of homosexuality.

This is the French article:

À Ryad, le ministère de l'Intérieur a rendu publique la décapitation au sabre de deux Saoudiens, le 26 décembre. Condamnés à mort pour le viol d'un homme, ces deux homosexuels ont vu leurs noms publiés dans la presse du Royaume wahhabite. Ils ont été accusés d'être entrés dans la chambre d'un homme alors qu'il dormait, de l'avoir battu, attaché puis violé. Des informations qui n'ont pas pu être vérifiées: une campagne de répression dans la communauté homosexuelle, semblable à celle engagée par l'Iran en 2007, tarit les sources d'information en Arabie saoudite.

Depuis mars 2008, en effet, des centaines de présumés homosexuels ont été arrêtés lors de soirées. Cet été, 55 jeunes hommes ont été interpellés par le Comité pour la propagation de la vertu et la prévention du vice, sorte de police des moeurs, lors d'une «soirée dansante homosexuelle» (lire article du 5 août). Aucune information ne filtre depuis sur leur sort. Le 11 août, deux prostitués philippins illégaux étaient interpellés; selon leur ambassade, ils faisaient l'objet d'accusations de sodomie. Fin 2007, deux hommes ont été condamnés à 7.000 coups de fouet (lire article du 8 octobre).

Le crime de sodomie est passible de peine de mort en Arabie saoudite. Mais, face aux protestations d'une partie de la communauté internationale, le royaume a déclaré n'appliquer la sentence suprême, à partir de 2002, qu'en cas de condamnation pour pédophilie, viol, agression sexuelle ou meurtre. Or on sait qu'en Iran voisin, les condamnations à mort pour viol masquent de fait une répression sanglante de l'homosexualité.

According to the 2007 human rights report from the State Department, homosexuals face the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for same-sex attractions and activities. From the report:

During the year there were reports that some Shi'a activist writers and other public figures were banned from traveling and the government had confiscated their passports.

Under Shari'a as interpreted in the country, sexual activity between two persons of the same gender is punishable by death or flogging. It is illegal for men "to behave like women" or wear women's clothes and for women to wear men's clothes. There were reports of societal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

There were reports of discrimination, physical violence, and harassment toward homosexuals. In October a court in al-Baha Province sentenced two men to 7,000 lashes each for engaging in sexual intercourse with other men.According to AI, the two men have reportedly received part of their sentence.

According to press reports, on March 19, police arrested 17 men in Dammam at a party in which men dressed as women. The men, locally known to be homosexuals, were arrested in a private apartment after a neighbor contacted officials due to loud noise.

At year's end there was no further information on men arrested in August and November 2006. In August 2006 the media reported that 250 young men were detained and subsequently 20 were arrested at a suspected "gay wedding" in Jizan. In November 2006 the media reported that police arrested five men for preparing to stage a beauty contest for homosexual men. The five men had previously been arrested in May for the same offense. The media also reported that several months before this incident, 92 men had been arrested at a gay party in Al-Qatif for wearing women's clothes, make-up, and wigs. At year's end none of these men had been sentenced.

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