Ten young Iranian men, including eight teenagers, are currently awaiting execution for sodomy, and two more are being re-tried on the same capital charge. And, in an exclusive interview with Gay City News, an Iranian student gay rights activist confirmed for the first time the existence of queer organizing on multiple university campuses throughout Iran.
The information about the ten youths currently under sentence of death for sodomy (lavaat in Persian) was released on November 25 in a joint appeal by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO), and COC of the Netherlands, the world’s oldest LGBT rights group, founded in 1946. The three organizations called on Western countries “with significant diplomatic and economic ties to Iran, including Germany, France, Canada, as well as the European Union, to pursue diplomatic efforts to cease these executions.
Hesam Mishagi is a 21-year-old gay rights leader in Iran. Through a translator he told Gay City News via telephone that his organization has been in place for five months. His take on the crackdown in Iran is fascinating. Because of the fraudulent elections, he claims the government wants to prove its authority by persecuting and silencing sexual minorities. The student movement for LGBT rights has not gone unnoticed. According to one LGBT leader, 130 students have been arrested for their involvement in recent weeks. Many of those arrested for sodomy have a very difficult time finding lawyers because of the stigma of homosexuality in Iran.
The English-language web site of Iran’s Committee of Human Rights Reporters is at http://chrr.us/index-en.php. To protest the impending executions for sodomy in Iran, click on iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/globalactionalerts/1028.html. Doug Ireland can be reached through his blog, DIRELAND, at http://direland.typepad.com/.