COUNTRIES LISTED ON THIS PAGE:BRAZIL
(SSO report - 16 January 1997: Brazil - 126 gays murdered in 1996: between 1980 and 1996 1560 deaths - probably higher - not all deaths recorded as gay!)
Edson Neris de Silva - gay hate crime - murdered in Sao Paulo Brazil February 2000. The San Jose Mercury News published the following on Sunday 27 February 2000: (from Kevin G Hall Mercury News Rio de Janeiro Bureau)
Gays: Alleged hate crimes by skinheads provokes a new look at attitudes towards sexual minorities.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Edson Neris da Silva did not set out to become a Brazilian martyr for gay rights or an international reminder about the dangers of skinheads and other hate groups. But the savage slaying of the quiet dog trainer, who allegedly was beaten with brass knuckles and chains by 18 skinheads and left to die in Sao Paulo's Plaza of the Republic earlier this month (February 2000), has shocked this South American country inured to growing violence. Like the 1998 beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, Neris da Silva's slaying has triggered a collective soul-searching among Brazilians, as many consider their country to be sexually liberal and accepting. For that reason, Brazil is a global tourist mecca for gay travellers.
But advocacy groups say that last year alone, 169 gay men, lesbians and transvestites were killed because of their sexual orientation in Brazil. They say crime against sexual minorities is increasing.
"The Shepard killing is not at all limited to the United States. It is a global concern," said Laurence Helfer, an associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and an advocate for tougher laws against hate crimes around the world.
From Care2 by email:
Three Cameroonian men that were arrested in July have been sentenced to five years in prison for gay sex, their lawyer told reporters Wednesday.
According to reports the three men sentenced Tuesday face a 5 year jail term and a fine of 200,000 CFA francs (about $400, £260). This is said to be the heaviest sentence that could have been meted out under Cameroon’s current law.
From the AFP:
A court in Yaounde has sentenced three Cameroonian men arrested in July to five years in prison for engaging in gay sex, their lawyer said Wednesday.
The Ekounou court sentenced the three on Tuesday to five years imprisonment and a fine, the heaviest sentence provided by Cameroonian law, which bans homosexuality, Michel Togue told AFP.
Two of the convicted men were present for the ruling but the third was sentenced in absentia, said Togue, who added he had appealed the decision.
“It’s a bad ruling because it is a blatant violation of the law,” the lawyer said, citing procedural technicalities when the guilty verdict was handed down.
He also accused the judge of peppering the hearing with homophobic innuendos.
More from the BBC:
The two men who were in court were denied bail in August. The third defendant was granted bail after their arrest in July and never appeared in court for the trial.
Ms Nkom, who runs Cameroon’s Association for the Defence of Homosexuals, told the BBC in August that there was no evidence against the men and they had been arrested because they looked feminine and their hair was “dressed like women”.
“This is a crime of fashion, not homosexuality,” she had said.
This is the latest in a series of convictions under Section 347a of the country’s penal code, a provision that criminalizes same-sex sexual relations. Indeed, the report goes on to note that a further 4 men were remanded in custody in August. They were charged with indecent behavior relating to same-sex sexual conduct. However, their lawyer has called the charges a set-up.
Readers may also remember the story of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede who was arrested earlier this year and received a prison sentence over text messages he sent a same-sex acquaintance that were later seen by the police. He must now serve three years incarceration for homosexuality and attempted homosexuality in Kondengui central prison where, Amnesty International has warned, he will face the constant threat of homophobic attacks.
In 2010 human rights group Human Rights Watch issued a report showing evidence that the criminal justice system in Cameroon is engaging in numerous fundamental rights violations. The report demonstrated that authorities have engaged in arbitrary detentions without proper adherence to due process, and that authorities continue to sentence people under 347a without proper evidence. In short, the report said, LGBs were not being prosecuted for actual crimes but were effectively being targeted for their identities. Concern deepens with the news that Cameroon is in fact preparing to strengthen its anti-gay laws.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a number of other human rights groups have called on the Cameroonian government to release citizens detained or imprisoned for being gay and to repeal Section 347a.
Has justice been served? Probably not, but it may be some small solace to some of the hundreds whose lives were ruined in Apartheid South Africa and later in Canada.
The following items were from Gay Star News in the United Kingdom:
Dr Aubrey Levin, known as Dr Shock in his native South Africa, was convicted of sexually assaulting three patients in Canada05 February 2013 | By Joe Morgan
A Canadian ‘gay cure’ therapist convicted of molesting male patients has been sentenced to five years in jail.
Dr Aubrey Levin, 74, was going to be given eight years, but the judge reduced it due to his health problems and age.
Levin was convicted on three counts of sexual assault by a jury last week.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley told the disgraced doctor that it was a ‘horrible violation of the trust of these three patients’.
‘They came to you for help for their problems,’ she said. ‘Instead you added to their problems.’
While the Crown asked for six to eight years, the defence argued Levin was a frail senior and suggested a sentence of 60-90 days to be served on weekends.
Shelley said: ‘Dr Levin, knowing of the many vulnerabilities of these victims, employed a strategy which would give him the opportunity to sexually assault his patients.’
‘Dr Levin’s profession and his training would make him more informed than the average sexual assaulter to the serious psychological and emotional harm that can result from a sexual assault,’ she added.
‘These three men were already emotionally and psychologically fragile.’
Levin initially faced charges involving nine different men, but was acquitted on two others and the jury could not reach a verdict on the last four.
Prosecutor Dallas Sopko said the Crown was satisfied with the outcome.
‘We feel it’s a fair and just sentence given all the circumstances in the case. It’s been a long and arduous process,’ he said.
Chief Defence Counsel Chris Archer said he hopes he will be able to get his client released on bail once an appeal had been filed.
‘With a 74-year-old man you're looking at the end of your life and whether or not this is going to be a significant part of it or whether or not you're going to die in jail," Archer said.
The allegations against Levin came to light in 2010 after one of his patients came forward with secret videos he had recorded during court-ordered sessions with the psychiatrist.
The videos, played in court last fall, show Levin undoing the man's belt and jeans and appearing to fondle him.
A South African immigrant to Canada, Levin was known in his country of origin as ‘Dr Shock’. It is alleged he subjected hundreds of gay soldiers and conscientious objectors to electric shock ‘therapy’ during the apartheid era.
Speaking to GSN, a South African journalist also claimed Levin and his team performed chemical castration and forced gender reassignment surgery on gay men as a ‘cure’ for being homosexual.
Levin has denied abusing any patients under his care and has argued the submission was based on a distortion of facts.
The following item is a report from 2012 and was before the above judgement:
A Canadian psychiatrist is to stand on trial for sexually abusing gay patients, he also used discredited aversion therapy on hundreds of South African lesbians and gays army conscripts to 'cure' them of their sexuality10 October 2012 | By Dan Littauer
Canadian psychiatrist, Aubrey Levin is to stand on trial next Wednesday, in Calgary, Canada for sexually assaulting 10 male patients.[UPDATE - GSN EXCLUSIVE below.]
The prosecution represents gay patients, who were mostly prisoners that were assigned by the Canadian justice system for treatment.
Aubrey Levin, infamously known as 'Dr Shock', has subjected hundreds of gay and lesbian soldiers and conscientious objectors in apartheid era South Africa to electric shocks ‘therapy’ in an attempt to 'cure' them of their sexuality and 'deviant ideas.
The Guardian, a British daily, reported that on Tuesday (9 October), a jury ruled that 73 year-old Levin was fit to stand trial after the defence claimed he was suffering from the early stages of dementia.
In March 2010 the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta suspended Levin's license over accusations of abuse after a male patient secretly filmed the psychiatrist allegedly making sexual advances.
Levin was consequently arrested; however, earlier complaints by others were ignored by the Canadian authorities.
After his arrest, about 30 other male patients came forward accusing Levin of sexual abuse. Levin's arrest raised questions in Canada as to how he was allowed to become a citizen and permitted to practice at the University of Calgary's Medical School even after he was named by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for 'gross human rights abuses' during the apartheid era.
Levin, infamously known in South Africa as ‘Dr Shock’, has subjected hundreds gay soldiers and conscientious objectors in apartheid era to electric shocks ‘therapy’.
Levin was first licensed as a psychiatrist in South Africa in 1969. He was a Colonel in the South African Defence Force (SADF), as well as the chief psychiatrist at the Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital during the 1970s.
During his work in the SADF he was the attending psychiatrist at Greefswald, an isolated detention barracks where harsh treatments, including powerful drugs electric shocks, were used to 'cure' conscripts of supposed 'homosexual vices' and conscientious objections.
[UPDATE] A journalist from South Africa has claimed to GSN that in addition to the above, 'Levin and his team also performed chemical castration as well as forced or rather coerced (as they were not literally forced) gender reassignment surgery on gay men as a "cure" for being gay.
'One such patient is currently living in New York reticent to speak to the press as he (although physically now a she) has been living a life of horror as he never wanted to be a woman as he was never transgender but just an effeminate gay man.'
Levin also used the same ‘treatments’ to suppress dissent in the black townships detaining hundreds of people and classifying them as ‘disturbed’.
Levin then rose to notoriety for his work on the totally discredited aversion therapy medical program which attempted to ‘cure’ gays and lesbians of homosexuality and in reality leaving many crippled and damaged for life.
Levin encouraged SADF officers and chaplains to refer ‘deviants’ for electroconvulsive aversion therapy, in which gay soldiers being shown pictures of naked men and encouraged to fantasise as they were subject to increasingly powerful electric shocks until they begged for the pain to stop.
Some of the abuses were documented by the Aversion Project in South Africa.
Levin also targeted drug users, principally soldiers who smoked marijuana, and conscientious objectors who would not serve in the apartheid military on moral grounds. Some were subjected to narco-analysis or a 'truth drug', involving the injection of a barbiturate before the questioning began.
While the details of Levin's human rights abuses were widely reported in South Africa, he managed to suppress publication of details about his past in Canada by threatening legal action against news organisations.
Erica Levin, wife of former court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Aubrey Levin who is on trial for charges of sexually assaulting nine male patients, has been accused of trying to bribe one of the jurors in her husband’s trial.
As the jury began deliberating on the fate of former forensic psychiatrist Dr. Aubrey Levin on Friday for charges of sexually assaulting nine patients, his wife stands accused of trying to bribe one of the jurors.
Erica Levin, who had been in court every day for more than three months of the trial, spent two days in remand and the past two weeks on bail under house arrest after Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley, presiding over her 73-year-old husband’s trial, cited her for contempt.
Shelley reluctantly dismissed the female juror Jan. 14 as a precaution after the woman wrote a letter to her outlining the alleged bribe three days earlier, then ordered Erica Levin, 69, to be arrested.
“This is an extremely serious matter. If proven, it is a serious criminal matter with serious criminal consequences,” the judge said. “We have a juror who has done nothing wrong regarding her oath and instructions.
“The Supreme Court of Canada has made it clear we should put a lot of faith in the juror’s oaths and the ability to instruct themselves. The public might think that being offered a bribe — if that is what occurred — the juror could not put it out of her mind.”
The juror told the judge that she recognized the woman, who offered her either $1,000 or $10,000 in a white envelope at the 5th Street LRT platform adjacent to the courthouse in payment for a not-guilty verdict, as having sat in the gallery behind her husband many times in the trial that began in October.
The juror also told the judge the woman said “my husband” at least twice.
Erica Levin was prohibited from attending court and to not contact any jury member in any way as long as the trial continues. She was subsequently released on bail by another judge, Justice Ron Stevens, on $25,000 in non-cash surety and placed under 24-hour house arrest until her husband’s trial has concluded.
The trial has continued with the remaining 11 jurors.
City police have acquired closed-circuit video related to the alleged bribe, and criminal charges could be laid after Aubrey Levin’s trial concludes.
It was the final incident in a trial that has been plagued by numerous delays as a result of more than 20 applications, some by Crown prosecutors Bill Wister and Dallas Sopko but most by defence — Dr. Levin’s original lawyers Alain Hepner and Maureen McConaghy, whom he dismissed, and subsequent counsel Chris Archer and Karen Molle.
The jury was unaware of any of the applications or the alleged bribe, as all happened in their absence and were under a publication ban until they were sequestered.
The trial, which started in late September, has stretched from what was originally to be two weeks long to nearly four months.
Initially, Hepner sought and was denied an application to have the trial adjourned for three months because of the accused’s frail physical health, including heart problems and what was described as morbid obesity. Then, another jury ruled Dr. Levin was mentally fit to stand trial, despite his doctor’s declaration he has early symptoms of dementia and his wife’s testimony that he is very forgetful of many words and sometimes acts in bizarre ways, such as walking around with his fly open.
During the trial, defence failed to persuade the judge on four occasions to declare a mistrial and once to remove herself from the case.
Several other applications involved the Crown’s bid to seize the accused’s medical records after he failed to show up to court because he was in hospital.
Levin originally faced charges of sexually assaulting 21 male patients, but 11 of the counts were withdrawn at the preliminary hearing stage and the trial began with 10 counts.
One of those counts was stayed during the trial and the complainant was never called. The other nine complainants all testified.
The key evidence involved videos taken by the initial complainant, RB, who used a wristwatch spy camera to videotape two sessions with Dr. Levin, during which the accused is seen fondling him.
In the final session, on March 16, 2010, Levin fondles RB for nearly 15 minutes.
The accused doctor did not testify in his defence but in a videotaped police interview played in court he claimed he was conducting medical procedures on RB.
It was after he was charged that police released a media statement and the other complainants came firstname.lastname@example.org
So-called "social clean-up death squads" have killed several hundred Colombian homosexuals in the last seven years. Some victims of these attacks on homosexuals have been killed in public places by gunmen on high-powered motorcycles or in fast-moving vehicles. Others have been seized on the street and forced into cars, with their bodies being found hours or day later. However these homosexual murders seem to have some common ingredients: they appear to be the result of organised "faggot hunts" and they are often particularly shocking because of their savagery and cruelty. There are several places near Bogota where the bodies of homosexuals can be found.
I.L.G.A. Bulletin 5/91 (1991)
"In the declaration following the congress of Education on Culture 1971, Fidel Castro referred specifically to lesbians and gay men and stated 'that all manifestations of homosexual deviations are to be firmly rejected and prevented from spreading'. The label 'Anti-Social' (coined by the Government) is used . . .In 1980, when emigration from Cuba was briefly allowed thousands of 'Anti-Social', (between 4,000 and 12,000 lesbians and gay men, 50% of total emigrants). . . left Cuba for the US."
Lesbian Information Service Newsletter #19, 2/89 (1989)
Report from Care2
Two men have been sentenced to thirty years imprisonment for the abduction and burying alive of a ‘discreet’ French gay couple.
According to the French gay and lesbian magazine Têtu, Guy Bordenave and Luc Amblard were killed because they were suspected of interfering with the relationship of one of the accused with his sister.
They were confined during the night of March 7 to 8, 2009, and buried alive on March 8 in a hole dug in a sandy bank of the Loire River near La Charite-sur-Loire in the Nièvre, sitting face to face, mouths gagged.
The autopsy showed that they suffocated to death, unable to call for help. Their bodies were found three months later. Several plaintiffs had tears in their eyes as the facts were recalled in court.
Part of the first day of hearings was spent examining murderer Claude Juillet’s ‘complex personality.’ A 55-year-old former casual worker in show business, he was impulsive, angry, antisocial or enigmatic for some, but a caring father of a little girl and not a bad guy for others. “Too nice,” Juillet said of himself, according to Têtu .
At his side was Christopher Rayé, a 39-year-old unemployed lift truck operator and an old friend of Juillet. Tall, short haired, wearing small glasses, he spoke with a southwestern French accent.
The older man’s lawyer argued that it was a crime of passion, not homophobia, though she acknowledged that this ‘might seem unlikely.’
Rayé’s counsel argued that there is no evidence that could show that his client had participated in the burial, but Rayé, a friend of Juillet, and like him unemployed at the time, had gone along with confining the couple because he hoped to get a few bucks out of it.
The sentence is a bit lighter than what had been sought by the Advocate General, Têtu reports. She had asked for life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 22 years for Juillet. The two defendants remained impassive on hearing the verdicts. A few sighs were heard from friends of the couple present.
Witnesses had said Bordenave and Amblard were an inseparable and discreet couple. The two event organizers lived in the small village of Couy, about 30 km east of Bourges, in central France, where the trial was held.
Juillet’s former companion, Marie-Laure Bordenave, had never spotted the slightest tension between Juillet and the Amblard-Bordenave couple, to whom she was very close. In 2008, after they had shared the same roof for many years, Marie-Laure asked Juillet to go live elsewhere and look for work, but they had continued to see each other until the double murder.Translation thanks to Francis Young.
GUATEMALA: TV’S MURDERED:
Capital Q reported on 10 November 2000 that in Guatemala between six and ten transvestites are murdered each year, the report emanating from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. The two most recent victims were Beverly Lineth and AIDS activist Astrid La Fontaine. Local activists blame “paramilitary forces” for the attacks and say the police are of no help. According to the IGLHRC: “The National Civil Police (PNC) hound and harass transvestites, taking away the money they earn, arresting and abusing them, and in some cases, raping them. The PNC offers this vulnerable group only terror, not protection.”
Report sent to us by George Balthazaar on 20 January 2005.
16 AUGUST 2004
GAY COUPLE SLAIN IN DELHI
NEW DELHI - A gay couple were found brutally murdered in the upmarket Anand Lok area of south Delhi early today.
One of the two dead men, Pushkin Chandra, was a project development specialist in the US Agency for International Development at the American embassy. Pushkin’s father, Mr Anil Kumar Chandra is an MP cadre retired IAS officer. Due to differences with the family, Pushkin stayed in an outhouse in his father’s residence at 24 Anand Lok and had little contact with his family.
At about 10.30am today, a servant Hari Ram, went to Pushkin’s room to serve him tea. Finding the door locked, Ram opened it with a duplicate key. On entering the room, however, he found Pushkin lying in a pool of blood in the bathroom, naked. Another body of a man wearing vest and short (later identified as that of Vishal) was found in the bedroom. The legs and hands of both the deceased were tied. Pushkin also had stab marks on his neck and abdomen while his friend had the same on hischest and neck. There was also a deep gash in Vishal’s neck.
Ram informed Pushkin’s parents who went to Defence Colony police station. When police entered Pushkin’s room, they found a gay pornographic VCD. What baffled them more was there was a large number of nude photographs of men, including that of teenagers, strewn across the room. Over 50 such photographs, including that of transvestites, were seized. Pushkin’s trousers also contained a few nude photographs of teenage boys. Searches also led to the recovery of 100 pornographic DVDs and VCDs. Most of these had graphic homosexual sexual acts.
Police claimed these films were amateur productions and Pushkin might have filmed some of them. It was also known that Pushkin, Vishal and two unidentified friends of theirs left his house around 11.50 p.m in Pushkin’s Opel Corsa to attend a party thrown by a Denmark national, Uffe, who was to leave India today. About 35 gays attended the party in Sanwal Nagar, close to Andrews Ganj. Pushkin’s car is missing. When Pushkin and his three friends returned was not known. Police suspect that they indulged in a sexual orgy and that a heated argument ensued which led to the twin murders.
"Moghtadi (The Iranian Chief Justice) reportedly told the officials that 'the religious punishment for the despicable act of homosexuality is death for both parties', and detailed five execution options: 'beheaded by a sword', 'Stoned to death', 'thrown down from a height such as a mountain or tall building', 'die under the rubble of a wall demolished on thier head', or burned alive".
Rex Wockner"Iran begins homosexual Genocide" (1991)
3 OCTOBER 1992
GRINS Parish Limelighter broadcast the following story from London's Capital Gay of 25 September 1992:
IRANIAN GAYS FACE DEATH
More than 90 Iranian lesbians and gays are under sentence of death after a raid on a private party in Iran on 20 August 1992.
There are fears now that gays may be deproted from Sweden and Denmark to face similar fates.
The chairperson of Homan, a Stockholm-based organisation of Persian-speaking gay people in exile, told the Swedish gay magazine, The Reporter, that news of the death sentences had just been published in Kayhan, the Iranian Opposition newspaper.
Sweden's national gay lobby group, RFSL, says it has also learned that a doctor from Shirza in Iran was executed in the middle of August (1992) because of his homosexuality.
23 JULY 2005
Iran executes gay teenagers
London - 21 July 2005
Two gay teenagers were publicly executed in Iran on 19 July 2005 for the 'crime' of homosexuality.
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 executes gay teenagers - Their last moments Photographer: Mashhad. Â© 2005 ISNA Iran executes gay teenagers - Their last moments Photographer: Mashhad. Â© 2005 ISNA Iran executes gay teenagers - Their last moments Photographer: Mashhad. Â© 2005 ISNA 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. They were only identified by their initials, M.A. and A.M.
They admitted to having gay sex (probably under torture) but claimed in their defence that most young boys had sex with each other and 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.
Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of! the youngest boy (under 18), had appealed that he was too young to be executed and that the court should take into account his tender age (believed to be 16 or 17). But the Supreme Court in Tehran ordered him to be hanged.
Under the Iranian penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be hanged.
Three other young gay Iranians are being hunted by the police, but they have gone into hiding and cannot be found. If caught, they will also face execution.
News of the two executions was reported by ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on 19 July.
A later news story by Iran In Focus, allegedly based on this original ISNA report, claimed the youths were executed for sexually assaulting a 13 year old boy. But the ISNA report does not mention any sexual assault.
A report of the executions on the website of the respected democratic opposition movement, The National Council of Resistance Of Iran, also ma! kes no reference to a sexual assault.
The allegation of sexual assault may either be a trumped up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths (a frequent tactic by the Islamist regime in Iran).
Or it may be that the 13 year old was a willing participant but that Iranian law (like UK law) deems that no person of that age is capable of sexual consent and that therefore any sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be a sex assault.
If the 13 year old was sexually assaulted, why was he not identified and also put on trial (under Iranian law both the victims and perpetrators of sexual crimes are punished)?Full story in Farsi from ISNA, with three photographs:
"The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Is! lamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder.
"According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.
"Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule. The victims include women who have sex outside of marriage and political opponents of the Islamist government.
"Last August, a 16 year old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, was hanged for 'acts incompatible with chasity.'
"Britain's Labour government is pursuing friendly relations with this murderous regime, including aid and trade. We urge the international community to treat Iran as a pariah state, break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran," said Mr Tatchell.
Protest to the Iranian Ambassador:
email@example.comTel: 020 7225 3000
Email this news release and photos to your friends. Urge them to protest.
This latest outrage from the Iranian government adds to the growing list of homophobic barbarities they have committed since the 1979 revolution. There seems to be no end in sight. We in the outside world, where we may still be able to protest such atrocities - and who knows? - in Australia such protests may become illegal under the proposed sedition laws - must protest in the loudest possible terms to the Iranian embassies in the countries in which we live!
Forwarded to us by a member of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Sydney, on 25 November 2005 received from the USA:
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 19:55:35 -0000 Subject: More Iranian gays executed
(New York, November 22, 2005) - Iran's execution of two men last week for homosexual conduct highlights a pattern of persecution of gay men that stands in stark violation of the rights to life and privacy, Human Rights Watch said today.
On Sunday, November 13, the semi-official Tehran daily Kayhan reported that the Iranian government publicly hung two men, Mokhtar N. (24 years old) and Ali A. (25 years old), in the Shahid Bahonar Square of the northern town of Gorgan.
The government reportedly executed the two men for the crime of "lavat." Iran's shari`a-based penal code defines lavat as penetrative and non-penetrative sexual acts between men. Iranian law punishes all penetrative sexual acts between adult men with the death penalty. Non-penetrative sexual acts between men are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are punished with death. Sexual acts between women, which are defined differently, are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are also punished with death.
"The execution of two men for consensual sexual activity is an outrage," said Jessica Stern, researcher with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "The Iranian government's persecution of gay men flouts international human rights standards."
In addition to the two executions last week, there have been other cases of persecution and execution of gay men in Iran in recent years.
. In September 2003, police arrested a group of men at a private gathering in one of their homes in Shiraz and held them in detention for several days. According to Amir, one of the men arrested, police tortured the men to obtain confessions. The judiciary charged five of the defendants with "participation in a corrupt gathering" and fined them.
. In June 2004, undercover police agents in Shiraz arranged meetings with men through Internet chatrooms and then arrested them. Police held Amir, a 21-year-old, in detention for a week, during which time they repeatedly tortured him. The judicial authorities in Shiraz sentenced him to 175 lashes, 100 of which were administered immediately. Following his arrest, security officials subjected Amir to regular surveillance and periodic arrests. From July 2005 until he fled the country later in the year, police threatened Amir with imminent execution.
. On March 15, 2005, the daily newspaper Etemaad reported that the Tehran Criminal Court sentenced two men to death following the discovery of a video showing them engaged in homosexual acts. According to the paper, one of the men confessed that he had shot the video as a precaution in case his partner withdrew the financial support he had been providing in return for sex. In response to the man's confession, his partner was summoned to the authorities and both men were sentenced to death. As the death penalty was pronounced against both men, it appears to have been based on their sexual activity.
Human Rights Watch Reports on Iranian Executions of Homosexuals
Call for Action - Send Appeal to Stop Execution of Three Persons For Homosexual ActFarsi version is available at: http://www.irqr.net/Persian/079.htm
(IRQR - Toronto, November 15, 2009) Nemat Safavi from the city of Ardebil, Mehdi P. from Tabriz, and Mohsen Gh. from Shiraz were all arrested, tried and sentenced to death in different courts in Iran, based on accusations of homosexual acts (known as "Lavat").
They were under the age of 18 at the time of arrest and have been kept in prison since then. In Nemat's case, he was jailed for five years so that he would reach the legal age (according to Islamic law) at which death sentences can be carried out.
Human rights activists working on Nemat's behalf have determined that the authorities in Ardebil are claiming Nemat dons not even exist. Having observed many similar cases before, IRQR considers this statement to be reason for even greater worry.
Mehdi and Mohsen are awaiting their execution despite the fact that they have both pleaded innocent and have denied the allegations. There is not one single witness in either of the cases, and even the judge himself has no evidence whatsoever to prove that the plaintiffs are guilty. (According to Islamic law, the accused person would accept his guilt four times, or there would be four male adults testifying on the crime committed, before a court can legally rule on someone's guilt.)
Nevertheless, the judge has ruled that Mehdi and Mohsen be sentenced to death by the powers vested in him by Islamic punishment rules, which allow a judge to issue a verdict based on his own personal knowledge, even when no physical evidence or witnesses were available.
IRQR is requesting the Iranian government to do the followings:. Stop the executions immediately
IRQR is asking all individuals, organizations and human rights activists to take action and help us to stop these unlawful and barbaric executions.RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to:
12 SEPTEMBER 2011
Three gay men were hanged at Iran’s Karoun prison on September 4 under Islamic laws that mandate the death penalty for sex between men.
Iranian state media gave only the men’s initials, M.T., T.T. and M. Ch., and reported that they had been convicted under articles 108 and 110 of the Iranian penal code.
Article 108 defines “sodomy” as “sexual intercourse between men”, while article 110 reads, “Punishment for sodomy is killing; the Sharia judge decides on how to carry out the killing”.
“[These] executions for sodomy might be among the rare cases were the Iranian authorities admit to having executed men convicted of homosexual acts,” Iran Human Rights spokesman Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said.
“Iranian authorities normally present such cases as rape, but rape has not been mentioned in this case.”
Three other men were executed at the prison on the same day — one had trafficked more than six kilograms of heroin into Iran, and the other two had been convicted of robbery and rape.
“In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told students at New York’s Columbia University in 2007.
12 MAY 2012
From LGBTQ Nation on 12 May 2012:
An Iranian court has sentenced four men from the town of Choram, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, to death by hanging for sodomy.
The four men — identified as “Saadat Arefi,” “Vahid Akbari,” “Javid Akbari,” and “Houshmand Akbari” — were due to be executed shortly after their verdict was approved recently by high court judges, according to a report from the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) in Iran.
According to HRANA and JOOPEA, the men will be hanged for sodomy in accordance with Sharia law.
A gay activist based in Iran said, “Although being gay is not a crime based on Iranian criminal law but this is the most clear statement against same sex-acts in past months.” He added that “there wereof our other men hanged in past five months.”
London based Iranian Human Rights Lawyer, Mehri Jafari said, “I am horrified and saddened to have heard the news about these four men. Not only with regards to the execution which is about to take place, but the fact that is beyond our control.”
“There are two important issues in this case; the location of the alleged occurrence and the interpretation of the Sharia’ law that a Hodud (strict Sharia punishment) is eminent.
“Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad is one of the most undeveloped provinces in Iran and it is obvious that a lack of access to lawyers and fair trial can be considered a serious issue in this case. After this announcement it is very likely that the execution will be carried out soon, and the remote location makes it difficult to exert any influence on the process.”
Jafari further pleaded, “I hope international organizations act quickly and effectively on this specific case.”
Gorji Marzban, chairperson of the Austrian-based Oriental Queer Organization (ORQOA) said, “The recent death sentence for the four Iranian men is a shocking reality and demonstrates the discrepancy between Western and Islamic perception of queer life.”
“Last month the Iranian authorities hanged a young man and the local news agencies and authorities were intentionally unclear about the reason for the death penalty. In the case of these four men we have a clear text attributing the reason for hanging is sodomy,” Marzban said.
“The judicial denial of same-sex relationships in Iran stems from its relationship to Shari’a law and patriarchy. This is a warning signal not only for the queer population of Iran but also for all types of gender inclusive the heterosexuals who have sexual relations outside marriage.
“The death penalty has failed to eradicate homosexuality from Iran but it was successful to force queer people into the closets. Sooner or later any Islamic community is obliged to integrate queer people. We believe that Iranians should gain more gender equality and rights and wholly condemn such an archaic sentence to murder which is inherently unislamic!”
Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its 2011 report — We are a Buried Generation:
Discrimination and Violence Against Sexual Minorities in Iran — stated that because trials on moral charges in Iran are usually held in closed sessions, it is difficult to determine what proportion of those charged and executed for same-sex conduct are gay and in what proportion the alleged offense was consensual.
Because of the lack of transparency, Human Rights Watch said, “It cannot be ruled out that Iran is sentencing sexual minorities who engage in consensual same-sex relations to death under the guise that they have committed forcible sodomy or rape.”
The issue of the death penalty for same-sex acts is further compounded by the fact that the Iranian legal code does not differentiate between rape and homosexual acts.
In many cases, it is often unclear whether the accused has actually committed a sexual act or it is a mere accusation based on some dispute. Even in the cases where the same-sex act has happened, often it is not clear whether the individuals involved are actually gay or it is an occasional act of sexual gratification.
Iranian Human Rights activists constantly note the fact that the two genders are strictly segregated increases the tendency for same-sex acts among the youth, in a phenomena that is also similarly known in single gender prisons. Indeed this phenomenon happens throughout highly segregated societies in the Middle East and North Africa.Dan Littauer is an international correspondent for LGBTQ Nation, based in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Advocate reports: April 27, 2006
Stop the antigay Iraqi killings now!
LGBT Iraqis are being slaughtered with the blessing of Islamic religious leaders. How can you help? Start by speaking up—in particular, by demanding that U.S. politicians do their duty to protect the people of Iraq
By Scott Rose
An antigay pogrom is taking place in Iraq. Gratuitous killings of gays are permitted under Iraqi law, and it is a fact that George W. Bush approved the wording of the Iraqi constitution that makes it so. Mainstream U.S. media are not reporting on the plight of Iraqi gays, nor are they discussing how to rescue them. This points out the urgent need for LGBT Americans to participate more in our democracy.
For those who have not yet learned of these circumstances, here is some background.
In August 2005, the United States was party to negotiations regarding the wording of the Iraqi constitution. The United States sanctioned the results, which included a change making Islam “the” rather than “a” main source of Iraqi law. Sharia Islamic law calls for homosexual people to be killed.
Some time around October 2005, the Ayatollah Sistani, writing in a question-and-answer section of the Arab-language version of his official Web site, issued an antigay fatwa. He was asked, “What is the judgment for sodomy and lesbianism?” He replied, “Forbidden. Punished, in fact, killed. The people involved should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.”
Reports from gay Iraqi refugees in London who maintain contact with people in their homeland say that Sistani’s fatwa is being carried out. The Badr Brigade is said to be particularly active in antigay persecution. According to the refugees and the Iraqis with whom they are in communication, identifiably gay people are attacked in the streets and beaten to death as surrounding crowds cheer on the killers. The same sources report that unmarried men approaching the age of 30 are given one month to marry a woman and then, if they fail to do so, they are murdered.
It is also reported that identifiably gay people, afraid for their lives, are hiding in the homes of sympathetic friends and relatives, much as Ann Frank sought refuge from the Nazis. They claim that even when Iraqi gays seek safe haven in the Green Zone in Baghdad, they are mocked and turned away by American soldiers. While tangential to the antigay pogrom, further reports say that Badr Brigade members also are killing people perceived to have violated Islamic law—for example, unveiled women and people who don Western dress or listen to Western music.
Why is the Bush administration, which rushed to the defense of a single Christian convert threatened with death in Afghanistan, not saying anything about the antigay pogrom in Iraq? We know that Bush himself is hostile to LGBT equality. We can also presume, with reasonable assurance of accuracy, that Bush’s true salient preoccupation is protecting the production-sharing agreements he procured for U.S. oil companies operating in Iraq, despite all his fine talk about democracy and freedom.
Yet one very major reason the U.S. media and the Bush administration are silent on the subject of the antigay pogrom in Iraq is that LGBT Americans are not bothering to speak out on this issue. I know it can be hard to believe, given the realities of the Bush administration, that the United States is a democracy. But it is. And one of the curious aspects of any democracy is that the most important people in it, the people, have a responsibility but not an obligation to influence the course of their nation.
Presidents, cabinet members, and members of Congress have no choice; they are elected to do a job, and they must fulfill the responsibilities of their posts or suffer the consequences. The people, by contrast, are at liberty not to put one iota of their energy into giving direction to the government. There is no penalty of any sort for not writing to one’s elected representatives, apart from that of waking up one day to find that one’s country has been transformed into a hellish monster.
In the past six years, evangelical Christians have influenced the United States out of all proportion to their numbers, in ways that are even in conflict with our country’s constitution. That has not happened merely because the Republican Party meticulously cultivated evangelical leaders; it has happened because grassroots evangelicals do not hesitate to communicate their views to their elected officials.
More people than I care to think about justify their criminal laziness when it comes to communicating their views to elected officials with preposterous defeatism. The recurring theme of that preposterous defeatism is, “They aren’t going to listen to me.”
Well, guess what? A single message from one constituent will not likely produce results, but the same message received from 500,000 constituents certainly will. Every senator and member of the House has an office e-mail address. The messages sent to it are reviewed by office staff, and what they learn from the messages is regularly discussed in strategy meetings. If senator Clinton’s office receives 30 messages about the antigay pogrom in Iraq, the matter will be considered too unimportant among the people to count for anything.
Like many career politicians, senator Clinton stands for nothing except her own drive to remain in power. If 500,000 constituents sent to her office an e-mail saying that the pogo stick had to be declared the official means of transportation in New York State, we would be that much closer to such a ridiculous declaration. If 500,000 constituents sent her a message saying that the antigay pogrom in Iraq must be addressed with red hot urgency, it would be.
Traditional paper mail is a distinct tool for communication with elected officials. Unlike e-mail, a letter generally receives an acknowledgement, often a form letter but sometimes an explanation of the official’s position and record on the relevant matter of concern. Like e-mail traffic, paper mail registers on the recipient’s agenda. Can you imagine if, on top of 500,000 e-mails protesting the anti-gay pogrom in Iraq, senator Clinton received 500,000 paper letters on the subject?
The antigay pogrom in Iraq is profoundly disturbing. That Bush-approved language for the Iraqi constitution making the indiscriminate killing of gays a legal activity is galling beyond all measure and beneath contempt. But it also is a call to Americans to fulfill their duties within our democracy. Beyond the tragedy befalling Iraqi gays lies the one befalling American LGBT people. If you don’t speak up to let them know you are there, they will act as though you are not.
Iraqi police 'killed 14-year-old boy for being homosexual'
By Jerome Taylor
Published: 05 May 2006
Human rights groups have condemned the "barbaric" murder of a 14-year-old boy, who, according to witnesses, was shot on his doorstep by Iraqi police for the apparent crime of being gay.
Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after being accosted by men in police uniforms, according to his neighbours in the al-Dura area of Baghdad.
Campaign groups have warned of a surge in homophobic killings by state security services and religious militias following an anti-gay and anti-lesbian fatwa issued by Iraq's most prominent Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
Ali Hili, the co-ordinator of a group of exiled Iraqi gay men who monitor homophobic attacks inside Iraq, said the fatwa had instigated a "witch-hunt of lesbian and gay Iraqis, including violent beatings, kidnappings and assassinations".
"Young Ahmed was a victim of poverty," he said. "He was summarily executed, apparently by fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police."
Neighbours in al-Dura district say Ahmed's father was arrested and interrogated two days before his son's murder by police who demanded to know about Ahmed's sexual activities. It is believed Ahmed slept with men for money to support his poverty-stricken family, who have fled the area fearing further reprisals.
The killing of Ahmed is one of a series of alleged homophobic murders. There is mounting evidence that fundamentalists have infiltrated government security forces to commit homophobic murders while wearing police uniforms.
Human rights groups are particularly concerned that the Sadr and Badr militias, both Shia, have stepped up their attacks on the gay community after a string of religious rulings, since the US-led invasion, calling for the eradication of homosexuals.
Grand Ayatollah Sistani recently issued a fatwa on his website calling for the execution of gays in the "worst, most severe way".
The powerful Badr militia acts as the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which counts Ayatollah Sistani as its spiritual leader. Another fatwa from the late and much revered Ayatollah Abul Qassim Khoei allows followers to kill gays "with a sword, or burn him alive, or tie his hands and feet and hurl him down from a high place".
Mr Hili said: "According to our contacts in Baghdad, the Iraqi police have been heavily infiltrated by the Shia paramilitary Badr Corps."
Mr Hili, whose Abu Nawas group has close links with clandestine gay activists inside Iraq, said US coalition forces are unwilling to try and tackle the rising tide of homophobic attacks. "They just don't want to upset the Iraqi government by bringing up the taboo of homosexuality even though homophobic murders have intensified," he said.
A number of public homophobic murders by the Badr militia have terrified Iraq's gay community. Last September, Hayder Faiek, a transsexual, was burnt to death by Badr militias in the main street of Baghdad's al-Karada district. In January, suspected militants shot another gay man in the back of the head.
The US State Department has yet to document the surge in its annual human rights reports. Iraq's neighbours, however, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are often criticised for their persecution of gays.
Darla Jordan, from the US State Department said: "The US government continues to work closely with our Iraqi partners to ensure the protection of human rights and the safety of all Iraqi citizens."
6 AUGUST 2006
This article appeared in The Observer, 6 August 2006
Jennifer Copestake Sunday August 6, 2006 Observer
Hardline Islamic insurgent groups in Iraq are targeting a new type of victim with the full protection of Iraqi law, The Observer can reveal. The country is seeing a sudden escalation of brutal attacks on what are being called the 'immorals' - homosexual men and children as young as 11 who have been forced into same-sex prostitution.
There is growing evidence that Shia militias have been killing men suspected of being gay and children who have been sold to criminal gangs to be sexually abused. The threat has led to a rapid increase in the numbers of Iraqi homosexuals now seeking asylum in the UK because it has become impossible for them to live safely in their own country.
Ali Hili runs the Iraqi LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) group out of London. He used to have 40 volunteers in Iraq but says after recent raids by militia in Najaf, Karbala and Basra he has lost contact with half of them. They move to different safe houses to protect their identities, but their work is incredibly dangerous.
Eleven-year-old Ameer Hasoon al-Hasani was kidnapped by policemen from the front of his house last month. He was known in his district to have been forced into prostitution. His father Hassan told me he searched for his son for three days after his abduction, then found him, shot in the head. A copy of the death certificate confirms the cause of death.
Homosexuality is seen as so immoral that it qualifies as an 'honour killing' to murder someone who is gay - and the perpetrator can escape punishment. Section 111 of Iraq's penal code lays out protections for murder when people are acting against Islam.
'The government will do nothing to tackle this issue. It's really desperate when people get to the stage they're trading their children for money. They have no alternatives because there are no jobs,' Hili says.
Graphic photos obtained from Baghdad sources too frightened to identify themselves as having known a gay man, and seen by the Observer, show other gay Iraqis who have been executed. One shows two men, suspected of having a relationship, blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs - guns at the ready behind their heads - awaiting execution. Another picture captured on a mobile phone shows a gay man being beaten to death. Yet another shows a corpse being dragged through the streets after his execution.
One photograph is of the mutilated, burnt body of 38-year-old Karar Oda from Sadr City. He was kidnapped by the Badr Brigade in mid-June. They work with the Ministry of Interior and are the informal armed wing of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who make up the largest Shia bloc in the Iraq parliament. Oda's family were given an arrest warrant signed by the Ministry of Interior which said their son deserved to be arrested and killed for immorality as a homosexual. His body was found ten days later.
Dr Haider Jaber is currently seeking asylum in the UK after fleeing Iraq in 2004. He says the abuse started to escalate in his neighbourhood after the invasion. One night, walking home from work, he was surrounded by five men, who told him he had to become a heterosexual Muslim. He says they abused him for wearing jeans and a T-shirt with English writing, and told him he should adopt traditional robes. As a crowd gathered to watch, he was then beaten and kicked to the ground.
The threats continued. Armed militiamen broke into his family home and then his workplace looking for him. Jaber finally left the country in April. His partner, Ali. was not so lucky. Jaber learned of his Ali's murder a few days after leaving Iraq. 'They didn't send the body to the family to have a grave or a flower garden. They said he didn't deserve it because he was an animal,' he said.
Ibaa Alawi has also fled Iraq. A former employee at the British embassy in Baghdad, Alawi met Tony Blair on one of his surprise visits to Iraq. He said Blair was concerned about the safety of the Iraqis working there and praised their bravery. 'Tony Blair said the British government was thankful for our efforts and knew we were putting our lives at risk working for the British embassy in Baghdad.'
Alawi is upset the same government is not willing to help him out. He believes the Home Office will refuse him asylum because it would have to face up to the level of chaos in Iraq, and how much influence is being waged by radical Islamists - and face the fact that, for some, there is still no freedom in Iraq.
· Jennifer Copestake's film on homosexual executions in Iraq will be shown on More4 News on August 7 at 8pm
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
3 MAY 2007
The following report is from the web pages of Doug Ireland:
IRAQI GAY ACTIVIST ARRESTED, TORTURED--Americans Present in Interrogation Center Where Torture Took Place
I (Doug Ireland) wrote the following article for Gay City News -- New York's largest gay and lesbian weekly newspaper -- which published it today:
A key Iraqi gay activist was arrested and tortured in Baghdad on April 29, according to Ali Hili, the London-based coordinator of the all-volunteer Iraqi LGBT group (logo below left), which has a network of members and supporters throughout Iraq.
Hani, a 34-year-old nurse whose last name cannot be given for security reasons to protect him and his family, was in the Al Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad, where he lives, and searching for a taxi when he was stopped and arrested this past Sunday by five policemen riding in a police pickup truck, Hili told me by telephone from London.
“Hani was in charge of communications for our Baghdad group, and he’s been a very important part of our work in reporting and documenting the campaign of persecution and murder targeting Iraqi LGBT people,” Hili said.
“When Hani -- who is obviously gay and a bit effeminate -- was stopped by the police, who demanded his identification papers, on seeing his name one of the police said, ’Yes, it’s him, he’s one of them,’ which is yet another piece of evidence that the police have a hit-list of some of our activists,” recounted Hili (right).
Hani was handcuffed, blindfolded, and taken to a police interrogation center. While he was in custody, Hani was beaten and tortured for several hours. “The police used a screwdriver, which they pounded into Hani’s legs with a hammer -- sometimes the police use electric drills for this sort of torture -- and they also beat him badly,” Hili said.
“The police tried to get Hani to admit he was a member of our Iraqi LGBT group, but he refused to say so, which is when the torture began,“ according to Hili, adding: “But Hani had his cell phone with him, and on that phone he had my cell phone number --which is listed on our website -- and the phone numbers of a number of journalists, including one from the Washington Post. The police demanded to know why Hani had these phone numbers if he was not a member of our organization, and why he was in contact with journalists if he was not a member, and also threatened him with rape if he did not admit it.”
While Hani was in police custody, he heard several different voices speaking English with American accents coming from somewhere outside the room in the detention center where he was being held. “Hani asked if he could speak to one of the American soldiers and explain why he was being detained, in the hope that he might be rescued, but the police refused to allow him access to these Americans,” Hili related.
The reported presence of Americans in a police interrogation center while a gay activist was being tortured underscores the indifference of Iraq’s U.S. occupier to the dire plight of Iraqi gays and to the religiously-inspired murder campaign which has been targeting them for the past two years.
While Hani was being interrogated, a senior police officer arrived and demanded to know if Hani’s family was wealthy, or if they had savings that could be used to ransom him--otherwise, he was told, he would be killed. Hani was then allowed to make a phone call to his brother, who managed to assemble some $2000 in U.S. currency and gold, and in a series of phone calls was able to negotiate Hani’s release in exchange for the money. A rendezvous was arranged, Hani’s brother forked over the shakedown money, and an hour later Hani was released, still blindfolded and with his hands tied behind his back.
Hani is now in hiding at the home of a doctor, from where he was able to telephone Hili and give an account of his ordeal. Hili in turn telephoned this reporter. “Hani is suffering terribly from the wounds he received during his torture, but he does not have any medication or painkillers, which are very scarce and expensive in Baghdad now,” Hili told me.
Hili also reported the latest documented case of the murder of an Iraqi gay -- Maan, a 27-year-old carpenter from the town of Taji, 20 miles north of Baghdad and the site of a large U.S. military base. “There were many rumors in Maan’s neighborhood that he was having sex with other men -- he was last seen on April 21st, when a police squad stopped him and arrested him,” Hili said. On April 25th, Maan’s corpse was found on the side of a road -- he had been murdered execution-style, blindfolded and with several shots to the back of his head.
The arrest and torture of Hani this past Sunday is only the latest in a series of attacks on the Iraqi LGBT group, which has been targeted by the Islamist fundamentalists ever since it began getting publicity about the murderous campaign of “sexual cleansing” being waged by hardline religious elements following the death-to-gays fatwa issued in October, 2005 by the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the 79-year-old Iranian born-and-trained chief spiritual leader of all Iraqi Shia Muslims.
Last November 9, five underground gay activists were abducted in a police raid on a secret gay planning meeting of the Iraqi LGBT group in Baghdad's Al Shaab district (see this reporter’s article, “Iraqi Gay Activists Abducted,” December 12, 2006.) The five activists have not been heard from since, and are presumed dead.
The Iraqi LGBT group was also specifically named last fall in a fatwa proclaimed by a mullah who is a cleric for the heavily-armed faction led by extremist Shia religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr -- it said that “people who want to harbor and protect gays should be killed.” Another anti-gay fatwa was issued against Hili, the Iraqi LGBT group’s volunteer coordinator, as an individual by Ayatollah Sistani's Council of Mullahs. Hili received an e-mailed death threat from Sistani’s official headquarters in Qum, Iran (considered by the Shia as one of their most sacred "holy cities") This death threat was stamped with the Ayatollah Sistani’s seal.
Also last Fall, there were three Interior Ministry raids on safe houses the Iraqi LGBT group maintained in Basra and Najaf. Two lesbians who ran the Najaf safe house as a refuge for children forced into the commercial sex trade were murdered -- their throats were slashed.
The Ayatollah Sistani’s original death-to-gays fatwa inspired the deployment of anti-gay death squads by the Badr Corps, military arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the most powerful political Shia group in Iraq and now the cornerstone of the current, U.S.-approved Iraqi government. SCIRI considers Ayatollah Sistani its spiritual and political guide. The SCIRI’s Badr Corps, which operates anti-gay death squads, was integrated into the Iraqi Interior Ministry last Fall, and its members now wear police uniforms and are able to operate with full police powers.
Gay City News first broke the story about the systematic murder of Iraqi gays last March (see this reporter's article, "Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays, U.S. Indifferent," March 23, 2006).
The Bush administration has assiduously courted both Ayatollah Sistani and SCIRI during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
A January Human Rights Report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) confirmed the organized “assassinations of homosexuals” in Iraq (see this reporter’s article, “U.N. Confirms Iraqi Gay Killings,” January 25, 2007. ) The report said UNAMI had been “alerted to the existence of religious courts, supervised by clerics, where alleged homosexuals would be ‘tried,’ ‘sentenced to death,’ and then executed.”
In this latest attack on a member of the Iraqi LGBT group, “When Hani was arrested, he had on him $500 in cash which I had just wired him, money that was to be used to support one of the safe houses we maintain in Baghdad for gays who have been forced to flee their homes because of death threats, but the police stole the money like gangsters” Hili said. “We are a poor organization, and the loss of this sum was significant for us. We are so short of cash we are being forced to close two of our safe houses in the south of Iraq this month because we can no longer afford to pay the rent.” These closures will reduce from five to three the number of safe houses in Iraq maintained by the Iraqi LGBT group.
“We not only have to pay rent for these safe houses and for electricity, we also have to feed the guys in these houses, and pay for their health care and medications -- some of them are HIV-positive -- because they are not able to go out in public or find work for fear of being killed,” Hili said.
“We beg our gay American brothers and sisters for help, because the troops that are in my country in their name could not care less about the horrible situation gay people face in Iraq since the invasion and since the institution of a regime which is under the sway of anti-gay religious fanatics and is approved by the U.S.,” Hili pleaded.
Contributions to the Iraqi LGBT group will be used to fund its safe houses in Iraq, sustain those sheltered in them, continue and extend the group’s ability to report on and document the lethal anti-gay campaign of sexual cleansing, and help refugee Iraqi gays fleeing death threats to find asylum in gay-friendly countries. Credit cards may now be used to make donations to Iraqi LGBT via a secure PayPal account on the group’s website by clicking here (once on their site, click on the button marked “Make a Donation.”)
Posted by Doug Ireland at 08:29 PM
25 SEPTEMBER 2008
Islamist deaths squads are hunting down gay Iraqis and summarily executing themAll comments (190) Peter Tatchell guardian.co.uk, Thursday September 25 2008 07:00 BST
Article history: Some of the links in this article will take you to sites containing images of violence which you may find disturbing (the links may not be available in this article)
The "improved" security situation in Iraq is not benefiting all Iraqis, especially not those who are gay. Islamist death squads are engaged in a homophobic killing spree with the active encouragement of leading Muslim clerics, such as Moqtada al-Sadr, as Newsweek recently revealed.
One of these clerics, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa urging the killing of lesbians and gays in the "most severe way possible".
The short film, Queer Fear – Gay Life, Gay Death in Iraq, produced by David Grey for Village Film, documents the tragic fates of a several individual gay Iraqis. You can view it here. Watch and weep. It is a truly poignant and moving documentary about the terrorisation and murder of Iraqi lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Since this film was made, the killings have continued and, many say, got worse. For gay Iraqis there is little evidence of the transition to democracy. They don't experience any newfound respect for human rights. Life for them is even worse than under the tyrant Saddam Hussein.
It is a death sentence in today's "liberated" Iraq to love a person of the same sex, or for a woman to have sex outside of marriage, or for a Muslim to give up his or her faith or embrace another religion.
The reality on the ground is that theocracy is taking hold of the country, including in Basra, which was abandoned by the British military. In place of foreign occupation, the city's inhabitants now endure the terror of fundamentalist militias and death squads.
Those who are deemed insufficiently devout and pure are liable to be assassinated.
The death squads of the Badr organisation and the Mahdi army are targeting gays and lesbians, according to UN reports, in a systematic campaign of sexual cleansing. They proudly boast of their success, claiming that they have already exterminated all "perverts and sodomites" in many of the major cities.
You can view photos of a few of the LGBT victims of these summary executions here and here.
My friends in Iraq have relayed to me the tragic story of five gay activists, who belonged to the underground gay rights movement, Iraqi LGBT.
Eye-witnesses confirm that they saw the men being led out of a house at gunpoint by officers in police uniform. Yes, Iraqi police! Nothing has been heard of the five victims since then. In all probability, they have been executed by the police – or by Islamist death squads who have infiltrated the Iraqi police and who are using their uniforms to carry out so-called honour killings of gay people, unchaste women and many others.
The arrested and disappeared men were Amjad 27, Rafid 29, Hassan 24, Ayman 19 and Ali 21. As members of Iraq's covert gay rights movement, for the previous few months they had been documenting the killing of lesbians and gays, relaying details of the murders to the outside world, and providing safe houses and support to other gay people fleeing the death squads.
Their abduction is just one of many outrages by anti-gay death squads. lslamist killers burst into the home of two lesbian women in the city of Najaf. They shot them dead, slashed their throats, and also murdered a young child who the women had rescued from the sex trade. The two women, both in their mid-30s, were members of Iraqi LGBT. They were providing a safe house for gay men on the run from death squads. By sheer luck, none of the men who were being given shelter in the house were at home when the assassins struck. They have since fled to Baghdad, and are hiding in an Iraqi LGBT safe house there.
Large parts of Iraq are now under the de facto control of the militias and their death squad units. They enforce a harsh interpretation of sharia law, summarily executing people for what they denounce as "crimes against Islam". These "crimes" include listening to western pop music, wearing shorts or jeans, drinking alcohol, selling videos, working in a barber's shop, homosexuality, dancing, having a Sunni name, adultery and, in the case of women, not being veiled or walking in the street unaccompanied by a male relative.
Two militias are doing most of the killing. They are the armed wings of major parties in the Bush and Brown-backed Iraqi government. The Mahdi army is the militia of Moqtada al-Sadr, and the Badr organisation is the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which is the leading political force in Baghdad's governing coalition. Both militias want to establish an Iranian-style religious dictatorship. The allied occupation of Iraq is bad enough. But if the Mahdi or Badr militias gain in influence and strength, as seems likely in the long-term, it could result in a reign of religious terror many times worse.
Saddam Hussein was a bloody tyrant. I campaigned against his blood-stained misrule for nearly 30 years. But while Saddam was president, there was certainly no danger of gay people being assassinated in their homes and in the street by religious fanatics.
Since his overthrow, the violent persecution of lesbians and gays is much worse. Even children suspected of being gay are abducted and later found shot in the head.
Lesbian and gay Iraqis cannot seek the protection of the police, since the police are heavily infiltrated by fundamentalists, especially the Badr militia. The death squads can kill with impunity. Pro-fundamentalist ministers in the Iraqi government are turning a blind eye to the killings, and helping to protect the killers. Some "liberation".
Iraqi LGBT is appealing for funds to help the work of their members in Iraq. Since they don't yet have a bank account, they request that cheques should be made payable to "OutRage!", with a cover note marked "For Iraqi LGBT", and sent to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT.
18 APRIL 2009
This item from BBC NEWS was sent to us by email:
Grainy footage taken on a mobile phone and widely distributed around Baghdad shows a terrified young Iraqi boy cowering and whimpering as men with a stick force him to strip, revealing women's underwear beneath his dishdasha (Arab robe).
"Why are you dressed as a girl?" roars one of the men, brandishing his stick as the youth removes his brassiere.
The sobbing boy, who appears to be about 12, tries to explain that his family made him do it to earn money, as they have no other source of income.
The scene, apparently filmed in a police post, reinforced reports of a campaign against gay men in Iraq which activists say has claimed the lives of more than 60 since December.
In the latest manifestation of the campaign, posters have appeared on walls in the poor Shia suburb of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, listing alleged homosexuals by name and threatening to kill them.
Those named have gone underground, while gay men throughout the city and in some other parts of the country also live in fear.
The phenomenon seems mainly to be affecting Shia neighbourhoods, where a number of clerics have given sermons seen as homophobic incitement.
In Sadr City, Sheikh Jassem al-Mutairi used his Friday sermon to attack what he called "new private practices by some men who dress like women, and are effeminate".
He called on families to prevent their youngsters from following such a lifestyle.
Police sources say that in the past month alone, the bodies of six young men have been found in Sadr City, some with placards labelling them "perverts" or "puppies", the derogatory Iraqi term for gays.
"The campaign started in 2004, but now it's very much worse," said a Baghdad homosexual who goes by the name of Surour. He talked to the BBC on condition of anonymity.
"They kill the gays, they beat them up… I have a lot of friends that have been killed - 15 or 16, something like that, too much."
"Life has become like hell, believe me, like hell. Whenever I go anywhere, there are checkpoints, and when they see us, they know about us, they detain us and question us, and they want to touch me, yes, to molest me."
As though to underline the accusation, another piece of mobile phone footage circulating in Baghdad shows a group of uniformed police harassing a hermaphrodite they have caught at a checkpoint, obliging him to expose his well-developed breasts which are then gleefully manhandled and kissed.
One Iraqi homosexual who fled the country last week said he was detained for three weeks and beaten until a bribe of $5,000 (£3,380) raised by friends bought his release.
Gay activists believe the campaign emerged as police, militias and tribes took their cue from the clerics.
“ It's a phenomenon which has to be fought, but through treatment ” Shaikh Sadeq al-Zair Shia cleric
But officials in all categories deny that they support the persecution or killing of homosexuals.
"The Interior Ministry has no policy of arresting gays just for being gay," said Brigadier Diah Sahi, head of the Iraqi police's Criminal Investigation Department.
"There's no law to justify it, unless they commit indecent acts in public."
"It's a psychological problem in any case. Arresting people and putting them in jail isn't going to change anything," he added.
A Shia cleric in central Baghdad's Kerrada district, Shaikh Sadeq al-Zair, said he saw many young men dressing more effeminately than women. "It's a phenomenon which has to be fought, but through treatment," he said.
"If these people are sick, they should be given therapy. But violence is rejected by all religions, especially by Islam, which is a religion of mercy."
A spokesman of the Sadrist movement - followers of the militant young cleric Moqtada Sadr whose Mehdi Army militia used to rule Sadr City - also said that there was nothing in Islam to say that homosexuals should be killed.
But they are being killed, and the Shia militias are among the most oft-cited suspects.
In some cases, it is believed that their own families are killing homosexuals, out of shame for their behaviour.
"In Sadr City, four of those who died were killed by their own families, because they think it is better for their name, for their honour," said Surour.
Homosexuals admit that their problem is as much with their own society and families as with the authorities, police or militias.
But the Iraqi government appears to be slow to take the lead in discouraging the homophobic campaign.
Amnesty International, which believes at least 25 alleged gay men have been killed in Baghdad in the last few weeks, wrote to the Iraqi government last week seeking "urgent and concerted action" to bring the culprits to justice and protect the gay community.
The appeal has so far brought no response, and the government has yet to comment on the killings or take any visible action to combat them.
17 AUGUST 2009
From the News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina, USA):
BAGHDAD -- Militiamen are torturing and killing gay Iraqi men with impunity in a systematic campaign that has spread from Baghdad to several other cities, a prominent human rights group said in a report.
Human Rights Watch called on the Iraqi government to act urgently to stop the abuses, warning that so-called social cleansing poses a new threat to security even as other violence recedes.
The bodies of several gay men were found in Baghdad's main Shiite district of Sadr City this year with the Arabic words for pervert and puppy -- considered derogatory terms for homosexuals in Iraq -- written on their chests.
8 die in blast
Bombs hidden in plastic bags near a falafel stand exploded at a market in a mainly Shiite area in Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least eight civilians and wounding 21, Iraqi officials said. It was the latest in a series of bombings targeting Shiites and minorities in the capital and northern Iraq.
The New York-based advocacy group said the threats and abuses have since spread to the cities of Kirkuk, Najaf and Basrah, although the practice remains concentrated in the capital. "Murders are committed with impunity, admonitory in intent, with corpses dumped in garbage or hung as warnings on the street," the 67-page report said.
Reliable numbers weren't available, Human Rights Watch said, blaming the failure of authorities to investigate such crimes and the stigma preventing families from reporting the deaths. It cited a well-informed U.N. official as saying in April that deaths were likely "in the hundreds."
The campaign has been largely blamed on Shiite extremists who have long targeted behavior deemed un-Islamic, beating and even killing women for not wearing veils and bombing liquor stores.
Shiite militiamen mostly stopped their violence against rival Sunnis after radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's forces were routed by U.S. and Iraqi forces last year and declared a cease-fire. But the report indicated they were conducting a less publicized campaign of social cleansing.
Homosexuals have been targeted throughout the Iraq war, but the killings appear to have intensified as improvements in overall security led gay men to begin socializing in public, the report said.
The Human Rights Watch report was based on interviews with more than 50 Iraqi men who identified themselves as gay, as well as Iraqi human rights activists, journalists and doctors.
The Iraqi government's Human Rights Ministry has condemned the killings.
"We are against any violation of their rights, because they are after all Iraqi citizens," ministry spokesman Kalim Amin said.
IRAQI LGBT – November 2009 – The rise of fundamentalist groups in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. led invasion has proven deadly to LGBT Iraqis, who are now being forced to either hide or face the consequences.
Using the internet as a means to track down new victims, militia members are now employing computer analysts to monitor traffic on gay dating and networking websites in the region. They work with internet café owners to single out people who frequent these sites and set up fake profiles in the attempt to lure them out.
On the 28th of August, police raided the houses of Asad Galib and Faeq Ismail, both 24 years old, and took them into custody. They were held and questioned for about four hours, accused of viewing gay websites in an internet café on the 21st of July. Both men denied the accusations and explained that the websites had already been open when they had begun using the computers. They were later released and are now in contact with Iraqi LGBT, a London based organization working to support and protect LGBT individuals in Iraq.
Others who have been accused or are suspected of such activities have not been as lucky.
On the 2nd of September, the body of 21-year-old student Mizher Hussien was discovered in Al Najaf, a city south of Baghdad. His head and genitals had been severed, and he had the word “pervert” written in black across his chest. The details of his murder are unknown, and Iraqi police have refused to launch an investigation into the cause or motivation of the crime.
On the 18th of September in Al Shatra Amara, two bodies were found exhibiting signs of torture. They had both been decapitated and left with a paper stating, “This is the end of all pervert homosexuals”.
Iraqi LGBT has been working since 2003 to raise awareness of the abuses being committed against LGBT people in Iraq, as well as provide protection to those who have been targeted. The organization currently funds a number of safe houses in the region, with nearly 100 individuals in Iraq directly benefitting from their work. In addition, Iraqi LGBT has been involved in securing asylum for Iraqi refugees who have been forced to flee the country.
Unfortunately, Iraqi LGBT has not been able to help everyone. The organization estimates that over 720 LGBT men and women have been murdered by these extremist militias in the last six years. The Iraqi government has largely been absent in pursuing the roaming death squads who carry out these acts, likely due to the influence of extremist Shia religious parties that are calling for a moral cleansing of Iraq.
With extremist militias threatening all those known to support LGBT rights, including the 2006 raid of an Iraqi LGBT planning meeting in which five activists were arrested, there is little hope for Iraqis suffering under the new socio-political climate. Once the most liberal and secular of the Arab nations, nowadays a religious extremism has taken hold of the country to the detriment of its people.
Iraqi LGBT calls for immediate international action to prevent the further torture and execution of LGBT people in Iraq. More information and details on making donations to the safe houses effort can be found at the Iraqi LGBT blog http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com.Ali Hili - Iraqi Lgbt - Chair 22 Notting Hill Gate Unit # 111 London , W11 3JE United Kingdom Mob: ++44 798 1959 453 Website : http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/
13 AUGUST 2009
Letter by Jo Harrison in MCV dated 13 August 2009:
I am not aware of any GLBT organisation here formally even expressing condolences to those in Tel Aviv amidst the horrific homophobic murders that took place on the 1st of August.
If this is really the case, I am both appalled and ashamed to be part of what appears to be an increasingly parochial ‘me-first’ GLBT community Down Under.
I look forward to extensive coverage of this event of global significance to our community. Were this to happen in Australia we would expect support and solidarity from overseas, I have no doubt of that.
I think that Tzipi Livni’s speech should be made available to us all, as it is one of the most significant speeches against hatred by an Israeli or world leader, at a time of grief and suffering.
San Francisco is holding a memorial procession as I write this, and I have communicated directly to Gay Tel Aviv and expressed horror and solidarity.
I would ask that anyone with access to Facebook do the same.Jo
[Jo, this week we run a feature on the Tel Aviv murders – Ed.]
Justin Rudzki reports from Tel Aviv in the wake of an attack on a gay community centre that left two dead.
Ask any local lad in the know and he’ll tell you that Saturday night here is all about Cheech Beach, an open air bar on the shores of the Mediterranean where the boys gather from about 11pm to see out the close of the weekend together.
Situated smack in the middle of the city’s main waterside promenade, its location characterizes a country where everything must coexist: there is little choice in Israel, a nation almost half the size of Victoria. In some areas this creates a tension that is palpable; in others, less so. On most days the average Tel Avivian will tell you that their metropolis is the place that does it best: one of those harmonious, multicultural melting pots that works.
The night of Saturday, August 1 was a very different tale.
The facts are already well known: as is par for the course in the modern age, within hours a local tragedy became front page news around the globe. At around 11pm on Saturday evening – the end of the weekend in a country that works Sunday through Thursday – a lone gunman entered one of the two community centres that service the gay community in Israel’s largest city and opened fire on gays and lesbians attending a weekly support group for teenagers.
Two died – Nir Katz, 24 and Liz Trobishi, 17. A further 15 were injured. For many, the incident was a forced coming out to the family members who were later notified of their condition.
Some four days on, the impact still looms large. The victims are struggling to come to terms with the enormity of what has happened to them; the perpetrator is yet to be found. The city is in shock. Even in this part of the world, where violence and terror are regular guests on the evening news, an event like this can shake people to their core.
Within hours, citizens who have uncomfortably familiar networks for spreading bad news swung into action. Modern technology became the bearer of bad news: text messages, internet, social networking sites. By midnight a group of local gays spearheaded an initiative to have as many as possible change their Facebook profile pictures in support of the victims. Vanity gave way to a whole host of pride flag images adorned with black ribbons and memorial candles. By 8am the following morning, less than 12 hours after the city was ripped from its summer slumber, the work had turned to gathering support for a hastily convened rally.
At 4.30pm people began assembling on Rothschild, a leafy, tree-lined boulevard dominated in the middle by a pedestrian thoroughfare – a kind of year-round gathering place where locals sit on benches in deep conversation, ride bicycles, drink coffee and play Bocce. The Aguda building, scene of the prior evening’s sinister events, is tucked into a side street less than 50 metres away.
Shortly before the anointed start time the crowd had the appearance of a low level sit in. A core of passionate activists gathered chanting choruses of “In pride, without fear” and other emotionally charged catchphrases. By the time the official program of speakers got underway the gathering had shifted dramatically in form, its scale well and truly symbolizing a community and city mobilized. Traffic was forcibly stopped as the crowd spilled out, covering the boulevard from pavement to pavement.
A number of high profile politicians came to speak, including a former Education Minister and Israel’s only out gay Member of Parliament. And then there was Tzipi Livni. The charismatic National Opposition Leader addressed the crowd with a passionate conviction. In one of the most poignant commentaries of the afternoon she urged the community to see “this crime as a turning point” and expressed the hope that it might "give the strength to everyone in the gay community to live their lives …. give strength to a child to go to his parents and say: 'I am gay' or 'I am lesbian'.”
They spoke about the many things to be learnt from a tragedy like this. Strong voices that talked of how this event will mobilize the community; how we need to fight for more rights, more acceptance and a tolerance that runs deeper and ultimately permeates well beyond a few square inner city miles. Although borne of the desire to see something good ultimately come out of something so heinous, there is no denying the necessity of these calls to action. In addition to the demands for a better tomorrow, there is much talk on the street here about the things to remember and contemplate: like the young man and woman who lost their lives as the result of a brutal crime, the random and inexplicable nature of evil that sometimes rears its head in even the most civilized of societies, and some of the deeper prejudices those actions may or may not represent.
But when the shock wears off, one of the most important things will be for this city to not self-flagellate – to ensure it remembers the value of what it has managed to construct; that in the moments before and after the tranquility of that summer evening were shattered by a violent crime there were many symbols of a place that, on most days, provides a secure, accepting and free environment for gays and non-gays alike to live. There’s the open celebration of life in a beachside bar, a forum of support for the newest members of the community; the sort of people that would mobilize in an instant in support of their own, and a National Opposition leader who is willing to come out at a moment’s notice in support of a group whose mere existence often polarizes the electorate.
That in middle of one of the most troublesome regions in the world there exists a place like this is a reason for Tel Aviv to retain a sense of pride amidst all the work still to be done.Justin Rudzki is an Australian freelance journalist based in Tel Aviv.
Letters to MCV:
Thank you Justin for this moving article which conveys the horror and the pride. Much appreciated.Jo Harrison
Dear Israeli Gay Youth,
This weekend we woke to the terrible news of the attack in the Tel Aviv gay youth centre. Unfortunately "random" hate violence is all too common in the world but what was most chilling about this particular attack was that it was targeted at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) youth in their safe space. The attack was malicious and calculated. The damage was brutal. The scars will last forever.
It is imperative that the authorities seek down those responsible and make them face the full consequences of their actions. An example must be set that this is never to happen again. The government must ensure there is adequate legislation for all types of hate crimes, and specifically those against GLBT people.
The entire world is a poorer place as a result of this senseless attack.
Please accept our most sincere condolences for those who died in the attack and our best wishes for a speedy recovery for the people who were injured and traumatised.Sincerely,
Pier-Paolo Pasolini - murdered in Italy
GAY, LESBIAN, TRANSGENDER, HIV HATE CRIMES - BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RECOMMENDED READING LIST
LESBIAN & GAY SOLIDARITY PAGE
Mannie De Saxe also has a personal web site, which may be found by clicking on the link: RED JOS HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM
Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:
MannieBlog (from 1 August 2003 to 31 December 2005)
Activist Kicks Backs - Blognow archive re-housed - 2005-2009
RED JOS BLOGSPOT (from January 2009 onwards)
This page updated 4 DECEMBER 2014 and again on 9 NOVEMBER 2016