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Human Rights in Iran

in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF, 19/06/2006

Letter from the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization to the UN Human Rights Council

As the first and foremost official supporter and advocate of equal rights for Iranian homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals, the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO) has been organizing, conducting, and broadcasting a wide variety of sexuality-related issues among Persians and non-Persians in the media during the past three years. This organization's activities include publishing a monthly online magazine called Cheragh (Insight Magazine), broadcasting a bi-weekly radio program named RAHA (Freedom Radio Station), and involvement in various social, legal, educational, and health concerns in Iran's homosexual, bisexual and transgender community.

The PGLO's main goal is to obtain equal rights for Iranian homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people.  These rights are acknowledged under international agreements and indicate that all inhuman punishments including physical torture, stoning to death and execution are in direct violation against the global charter of human rights.  Within several statements and reports published for the International Day of Human Rights, and also throughout the approved statement of the World Organization on December 16, 2005, there is no reference or  criticism of the Iranian Islamic government's barbaric actions against sexual minorities, which reflect true evidence of injustice and oppression in Iranian society.

According to Islamic law, the penalty for sexual relations between two men is death, with a judge deciding the method of execution including stoning, hanging, hurling from a height or death by sword.  The penalty for sexual relations between two women is one hundred lashes, and if they commit it for the fourth time, they are sentenced to death.  This brutality occurs in the Islamic regime of Iran, while the agreement of social and political rights of the World Organization has banned the torture and execution punishments for consensual sexual relations between adults.

Iran's Islamic regime has publicly executed numerous gay men to vilify their lifestyle and relationship in the public eye. The clear examples of this were the executions of gay men in Mashhad and Gorgan provinces last year, which were followed by deep reaction and criticism from many Western gay communities and human rights organizations. In spite of the international attention to these cases, the Islamic regime has not given an explanation for these inhumane barbaric killings. According to Islamic law, there is no boundary between "sexual abuse" and "homosexual relationship."  What we are highly concerned with and urgently ask from you is that a ban be placed on the execution of homosexuals and that legal protection be provided to them in Iran.

Since the inception of our organization, we have been continuously receiving reports of the attacks of the basiji, an unofficial para-police under the authority of the hard-line Revolutionary Guards (called Pasdaran in Persian). The basiji routinely raid to the homes and parties of gay people which result in arrest and torture.  

There are also reports that young boys and girls are being arrested, tortured and threatened. Among which the publicized cases is that of Amir, a 22-year-old gay Iranian who was arrested by Iran's morality police as part of a massive Internet entrapment campaign targeting gays. He was beaten and tortured while in custody, threatened with death, and lashed 100 times. Also notable is the case of Mojtaba, who was known to the police as a homosexual and was arrested for attending a gay party, beaten and interrogated. Mojtaba subsequently escaped and fled to Turkey. However, there are many others that cannot be named to protect their confidentiality, including two transsexuals who were savagely murdered in their homes in the winter of 2005 in Tehran.

Because there are no legal and social protections for homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people in Iran, they are at the mercy of the basiji security guards and bear with a considerable amount of worry, threat, and abuse from these agents of the regime.  If the complaints are elevated in the legal system, they are ignored and the individuals treated as the guilty parties.

We demand that homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals in Iran obtain basic human rights which is the right to live free, and this will not be achieved unless all human rights advocates show their strong support in any way that is the most likely to bring changes to the current situations, free of any conservative type veiled-expressions, typical pre-judgments, and unrealistic perceptions from human rights activists.  We ourselves believe that gaining equality for our homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals and defending and protecting their rights are of the greatest and most important needs of our country, Iran, in current times.
 
With Kindest Regards,
Arsham Parsi
Spokesman & Secretary of Human Rights Affairs
Persian Gay & Lesbian Organization

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