Thursday, July 12, 2007

HRW, SF, Moscow Join Cologne & Warsaw for July 19 Hanged Gay Iranians

From the moment news of Iran hanging two gay teenagers on July 19, 2005, reached San Francisco, two members of the Board of Supervisors have been in the forefront remembering the victims Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, and standing in solidarity with LGBT Iranians.

Now, on the second anniversary of the tragic hanging, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, an Iranian-American, and his colleague Supervisor Bevan Dufty, a Gay-American, today announced they will hold a vigil and light candles of remembrance for the hanged Iranian teenagers on July 19, 2007, at 12 noon, in San Francisco's City Hall.

Supervisors Mirkarimi and Dufty issued the following joint statement: "As elected officials of San Francisco, a city that's a beacon of hope and tolerance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the planet, we again will speak out for acceptance and love toward LGBT Iranians. We also reaffirm our commitment to opposing the death penalty, especially against teenagers. Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni and their barbaric executions are not forgotten."

San Francisco is now the fourth city to hold a public vigil on July 19, 2007, in collaboration with gay human rights activists in Cologne, Germany, Moscow, Russia, and Warsaw, Poland.

Longtime gay organizer Michael Petrelis said Iran's recent statement that the Islamic Republic soon will execute men convicted of homosexuality, that it has stoned a male adulterer, and intends to stone a woman convicted of adultery, give great urgency to July 19 vigils everywhere. "Our message to Iran's government is basic - honor international human rights treaties prohibiting executions and respect the lives and civil liberties of all LGBT citizens," he said.

Endorsing the lighting of candles on July 19 is Scott Long, executive director of Human Rights Watch's gay division, who issued a statement on behalf of nongovernmental organization, speaking for gay Iranians: "Lighting candles for the children, whatever their identities or the reasons for their killing, is obviously lovely and appropriate to what is known of their story as well as the political situation Arsham Parsi and the IRanian Queer Organization face."

The following information is for the four international vigils on July 19:

Cologne, Germany
Location: Memorial For Lesbian and Gay Victims of Nazism, Near the Hohenzollern Bridge
Time: 17:30
Contact: Viktor Zimmerman, Email: , Web Site: Gay Homeland

Comments from Mr. Zimmerman:
"The two executed teenagers will always remind us of the fate of many of our brothers and sisters in Iran who were tortured and murdered by the Ayatollah regime and its death squads. Silence is not an acceptable option when gays are hanged."

Moscow, Russia
Location: Iranian Embassy
Time: To Be Announced
Contact: Nicolas Alexeyev, Email:, Web Site: Gay Russia

Remarks from Mr. Alexeyev:
"We've applied for the permits to stage a vigil and if the authorities forbid our action at the Iranian Embassy, we will stage it nearby. For three years now, LGBT Russians make strong solidarity with our family in Iran and plan to do so again in the future."

San Francisco, USA
Location: Supervisor Mirkarimi's Office
City Hall, Room 244
Time: 12 noon
Contact: Michael Petrelis, Ph: 415-621-6267, Email:, Web Site: Petrelis Files

Warsaw, Poland
Location: Near the Iranian Embassy
Time: To Be Determined
Contact: Lukasz Palucki,

Statement from Mr. Palucki:
"This year for 19 July I will organize another (third) demonstration against killing gays in Iran. It will be opposite Iranian Embassy in Warsaw and we invite the LGBT community and our friends to stand in solidarity with us. I hope to get support from Polish politicians who want to our change Poland's diplomatic "Friendship Pact" between our country and the Islamic Republic of Iran."

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