World Ignores Persecution Of Gays In Iran On World Gay Rights Day
International Gay Rights Day passed by yesterday on May 17th without much fanfare.
The date was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the removal on May 17 1990 by the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) of homosexuality from their list of mental disorders.
Unfortunately, today’s Left does not pay much attention to those suffering from human rights abuses outside of the West. Out of respect for those who are ignored by today’s Left I am posting this news in support of the gays in Iran who suffer extreme abuse under the current regime.
Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation
For the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran
Addressing Homophobia in Iran
In Iran, same sex sexual acts between consenting adults are crimes. Since 1979, thousands of Iranians have been intimidated, harassed in their own homes, arrested, tortured, subjected to cruel corporal punishment, and executed. Some are diagnosed with psychological disorders while others are forced to deny their sexual orientation or induced to repent as sinners. In all cases they are compelled to live in fear behind closed doors because of their sexual orientations or gender identities.
Articles 108 to 134 of the Islamic Republic’s Penal Code impose specific punishments — ranging from 60 lashes to execution — for men and women found guilty of homosexual acts. Article 123, for example, reads: “If two men, unrelated to one another, lie, without necessity(?), naked under the same cover, they will each be punished by up to 99 lashes of the whip.” Article 110 imposes the death penalty for sodomy. These penalties are maintained in the revised draft of the penal code submitted to the parliament for approval in December 2007.
Over the years, Iranian authorities have confirmed in their statements that Iran sentences individuals to death for homosexual sex. In 1991, for example, in its reply to inquiries made by a UN special representative, the Iranian government stated that: “according to the Islamic Shariat, homosexuals who confess to their acts and insist on [their homosexuality] are condemned to death.” More recently, in May 2007, the head of a parliamentary delegation visiting the United Kingdom stated, in response to inquiries by British MPs, that if homosexual activity is in private, there is no problem, but that those engaging in overt activity should be executed. He also said that homosexuality is against human nature.
The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF) has documented at least 146 cases of executions of individuals charged with a “homosexual act” since 1979. In 1980 in Tabriz, for example, Mr. Nasser Farhati and four other individuals were executed for “repeated sodomy, so much so that this immoral and filthy act had become like a chronic disease with them.” In 1982, an un-named individual was executed for “the hideous act of sodomy and adultery” in Mashad.
ABF’s list of executions, which is far from being exhaustive, includes individuals who have been executed for political or other unrelated reasons and whose charges include a homosexual offense. Mr. Makwan Moludzadeh, a 20-year-old from Kurdistan, was sentenced to death and executed for homosexual acts committed at the age of 13, in violation of Iranian and international law. His execution may have been prompted by the reported enmity of the local prosecutor. (See also Mr. Mohammad Sa’id Beizi and Mohammad Jamil Hosseini).
The list does not include, however, scores of individuals executed for allegedly committing homosexual rape. Among these are believed to have been homosexuals killed based on trumped-up charges, such as in the highly publicized case of the teenagers in Mashad who received 228 lashes each before being hanged in public in 2005. Investigating the accuracy of these rape charges is difficult and will not be possible as long as the Iranian authorities deny defendants’ basic rights, such as the right to an attorney during interrogation or the right not to incriminate oneself, and as long as they refuse independent human rights monitors access to trials.
ABF and other human rights and LGBT rights groups have documented many instances in which individuals suspected of homosexuality have been arrested and flogged. (See Amir, and Farshad and Farnam) They note that such corporal punishments have increased noticeably since 2003.
Twenty-nine years of institutionalized violence and discrimination have driven Iranian gays and transsexuals to an underground life marked by the fear of being caught. It has also made them easy targets of violence in recent government campaigns against “hooligans”. In the summer of 2007, the Revolutionary Tribunal of Shiraz sentenced several “hooligans” to prison and other punishments. Among them were two men whose punishment included 175 lashes each for homosexual acts. More recently, in March 2008, another “morality campaign” led to the arrest of 30 male guests at a party in Esfahan. Security forces broke into a private home, and the guests were arrested, detained for weeks with no access to legal counsel, and reportedly examined for evidence of homosexual sex. United Nations, February 13, 1991. Quoted in UNHCR, Chronology of events 1989-1994. Question and Answer Research Papers.  Times Online, November 13, 2007 quoting the minutes taken by an official describing the meeting between British and Iranian MPs.  http://pglo.net/IRQO/English/pages/119.htm  Hamshahri newspaper, July 14, 2005  Iranian Students News Agency, August 22, 2007  http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/03/28/iran18385.htm
Human Rights Watch’s press release regarding this event noted that in a similar raid in May 2007, 87 guests in a party were arrested. Some were stripped in the street and beaten “until their backs or faces were bloody”. Others were detained, tried and sentenced to 80 lashes and heavy fines for “facilitating immorality and sexual misconduct.”  Answers to questions about the implementation of the Durban Declaration… Letter of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Anti-Discrimination Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 14 March, 2008.  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Columbia University,
24 September 2007.  The date was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the removal on May 17 1990 by the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) of homosexuality from their list of mental disorders.  http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org
19 year-old Makwan Moloudzadeh was hung by the regime in December 2007 for having gay relations when he was 13. 6,000 citizens, almost the entire population from the Kurdish Iranian town of Paveh, showed up for his funeral.
Hat Tip Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi