Youth Faces Execution in Iran; Iraqi Gay ‘Safe House’ Raided

Gay Middle East reports that a young man in Iran, Ebrahim Hamid, has been sentenced to execution in Iran based on a false accusation of sodomy:

IranHamidi was sentenced to death for an accusation at an attempt at a sexual assault. Following a fight in the countryside outside Tabriz with a family against which his own had been feuding for some time, Hamidi was picked up with three friends by the police. The four were told that one of the guys from the other family with whom the four were fighting accused them of an attempt at sexual assault. The “testimony” the accuser gave to support this claim was that during the fight his own trousers were 20cm “below what is normal”, implying that the four attempted to strip him naked and assault him.

The four accused were arrested based on this allegation and in the initial interrogations they were tortured and pressured to confess to the crime. Ebrahim Hamidi signed his confession sheet to stop his torture; he was hanged from his legs and beaten, in addition, he was battered so badly that his interrogators broke a glass desktop during questioning. According to his lawyer, and the three friends who witnessed the beatings, he confessed to the crime he did not commit. All four were tried in two consecutive provincial criminal courts and were sentenced to execution.

During their third trial, the three were cleared of charges and Ebrahim was
again sentenced to execution. This despite the fact that two out of the five
judges admitted that none of the accused were guilty of the allegations.


In other news, a gay safe house has been raided in Iraq, five men have been arrested, and their whereabouts are unknown:

UK Gay News reports:

 Iraq"Hard on the heels of an Iraqi police raid on a Kerbala ‘safe house’ for gays, run by the London-based Iraqi LGBT, comes news that there has been another raid – on a Baghdad male beauty parlour, with five men arrested.

Iraqi LGBT reported this evening that five gay mean were seized by 'Interior Ministry forces' in the raid on June 25.

The latest raid was on a house used as a business for services such as waxing and massage in the Baghdad district of Karada.

Such services have long been used in a country with a body building tradition.

Iraqi media coverage, which included three days of TV reports, however described the house as used for prostitution, according to Iraqi LGBT.

However, witnesses have told Iraqi LGBT that this was not the case. Neither waxing nor massage is illegal in Iraq however it is ‘forbidden’ by Shia clerics.

Despite claims to the contrary, homosexuality is illegal in Iraq, and it is on this basis that the raid happened and the men were arrested, the London group claims."

Local newspapers also reported on the raid:

"Eyewitnesses who were outside the building say Ministry of Interior forces raided at 3pm. Those on rooftops heard screams for help and saw the men being severely beaten by uniformed men carrying cattle prods.

They say one was taken into custody on a stretcher, Iraqi LGBT reports.

One of the eyewitnesses who spoke with Amnesty International has since disappeared.

Iraqi LGBT has received no information about where the men were taken. However, previous seizures of gays, lesbians and transgender people have resulted in them being handed to religious militia and their subsequent torture. Often this is followed by the discovery of their mutilated bodies.

An Iraqi online news site quoted 'security sources' in a local newspaper [report in Arabic]saying: 'After gathering evidence and information the police issued an order from a judge to raid the house where the house-owner of the shop and a number of gay, mostly college students were caught red-handed, and have confessed openly their shameful work which is contrary to public decency, they were seduced by the devil to commit these acts.'

The newspaper went on to say that forces had 'captured a laptop computer and CDs from a pornographic network'.

This evening, Iraqi LGBT is calling on the British and American governments to follow the lead of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and investigate – and condemn – the raids."


  1. TANK says

    Note, however, that official criticism of the behavior of these evil thugs/religious beasts does not carry over to the cause: Islam. Islam is an evil religion that is responsible for the subjugation, torture and murder of women and homosexuals. There is no distinction in that part of the world between religion and law; governance and faith…a direct implication of subscribing to the qur’an. It’s an inferior culture that sanctions genocide.

    And there are just too many useful idiots in our own country who, subscribing to some abrahamic desert mythology, make allowances for this kind of barbarism, and bring up any justification (including, ironically, “freedom of religion”) to quiet dissent…because deep down, they’ve a lot more in common with these rabid dogs than they do with enlightenment values (on the right)…and it’s just not politic to “appear” critical of Islam in the name of diversity for diversity’s sake (on the left). Dogma is vile throughout the political/cultural spectrum.

  2. Roland says

    I’m reluctantly commenting even though Tank’s comment is the only one visible to me right now. Let’s hope he/she doesn’t perceive my comment as related to his/hers.

    Trumped up charges, such as attempted rape, occur in all countries, not just backward ones. Do we think that the innocent have not been executed in the U.S.? Just watch Dateline or one of those other shows.

    We spent all this money bringing a media to Iraq that would report on their barbarous behavior toward homosexuals — when I bet that a majority of their single “str8″ men are f*cking each other to preserve their daughters’ virginity. With the exception of a potential Palin presidency, I can’t imagine a worse president than Bush.

  3. TANK says

    I often wonder what purpose saying things like, “christianity’s bad, too,” “religion doesn’t kill people, people kill people”(i.e., the whole, guns don’t kill people palaver of the NRA dolled up in different clothes), and “trumped up charges exist in all countries, including the u.s.” has to do with the fact of stories like this, and this in particular…it seems like a nonsequitur with regard to the persecution/torture/genocide of homosexuals in iran and iraq because of islam.

    Well, I suppose it’s an indulgent daydream to expect coherent thought on the comments section of a blog.

  4. Doug says

    I can’t even imagine what our gay brothers & sisters in Iran go through on a daily basis. A friend forwarded a link to a documentary on you tube about Gay Iranian teenagers and the daily hell they wake up to in fear, isolation and complete terror. All it takes in that backward religious ruled nation to get stoned to death for being gay is one simple accusation…there are no laws, rules or regulations. Just hate, extreme religious fundmental mindsets and barbaric practices. I hope alll countries consider gays from Iran refugees and act accordingly, and that other LGBT members stay well informed on what they go through and stay involved in the international human rights campaign and get the word out. Just because we don’t hear about it does not mean there’s not a gay person being tortured as we think out of sight, out of mind.

  5. Jackson L. says

    Roland, to even suggest the U.S is in the same wavelength in it’s treatment toward gays, or even politics is vile and repulsive and clearly shows how ill informed you are about what being gay in Iran means. The President came in front of a packed house and said “there are no gays in my country. we don’t have people like that in Iran” Please educate yourself before you sound like a loony, extremist liberal out to draw any exagerated comparison to Palin and Republicans. You can have your disdain for the U.S; but if you only knew what being gay in Iran meant that disdain would transition into an appreciation REAL quick.

  6. IonviolinMusic says

    roland – “Trumped up charges, such as attempted rape, occur in all countries, not just backward ones.”

    yeah, but in the U.S you are innocent until proven guilty and there is a court process in place to enable you to defend yourself. does that process make fatal errors? sure, but it’s granted! these backward middle eastern countries don’t have a court hearing, defense, 50/50 counter balance, qualified legal analyst/lawyer mandated to defend you. it’s a sentence, and executions are done by hanging, stonning and all while being tortured in prison in the lead up. I agree with the poster above, get educated on the subject before attempting to sound like an authority on the subject.
    do some research then go try defending yourself in an Iranian “courtoom”

  7. Hmmm says

    Re: TANK-

    I am usually more a reader than a commenter when it comes to both this blog and the other comments but I have reached a point with TANK’s comments where I would have liked to comment.

    Now usually I chalk all negative comments or those that I do not agree with as either misguided, a difference of opinion, or someone’s attempt to stir up arguments. However the poster’s comments are all particularly laced with such vile sardonicism and contempt that it usually comes off as mean-spirited; even more so as they usually appear sincere. Which is unfortunate as I can tell that the person is indeed intelligent, yet the their point is lost under a barrage of insults trimmed with excellent sentence structure and vocabulary.

    Far be it from me to question your opinions on religion TANK, but how do you hope to prove the validity of your comments if you resort to using ‘ad hominem’ as part of your argument?

    Now I myself am not a Muslim but were I a Muslim I would be beyond offended at the words in your post. I doubt any Muslim person would appreciate being referred to as a “religious beast” any more than you would like to be called a “sexual deviant” or a “pedophile” being a gay/bi man. I also believe it is unfair of you to ascribe this belief that Muslims are “barbarous” to all Muslims when you know just as well as I that no 2 people are exactly the same. Even a serial killer can be born from a normal family [see Jeffrey Dahmer]. Trust me when I say that this is not my attempt to make you be PC.

    Now I doubt anything I said would particularly faze you but maybe you can give it a thought?

  8. Roland says

    BTW, my grandmother used to say “A Democrat is a Republican who has been arrested”.

    IMHO, Americans who have the time and resources to comment here are nothing if not naive about government and authority. I think its because we live in a country of vast inequalities and the privileged are sheltered from the brutal realities that poor folk face everyday.

    There’s no hugging it out with Fox News.

  9. TANK says

    I hope to prove the validity of my comments/arguments through reason, like every other argument I attempt to prove. My style, or the cosmetic irrelevance of my approach is often abrasive and harsh, I’ll grant, but complacence and civility when confronted with tragedies of this magnitude are far worse indictments of character than being rude and offensive. You see, what we don’t do is usually just as important (and sometimes much more important) than what do (what we don’t spend our money on; what we don’t say; what we don’t defend; what we don’t condemn; shit we’re even unaware of but have an obligation to educate ourselves about to put a stop to, e.g., that 1.4 billion INDIVIDUALS on this planet NEEDLESSLY live on $1.25 a day. Real dollars…meaning that that amount goes just as far here as it does there).

    I agree that a muslim may be offended by my characterization of the islamic governments, individuals and THEIR religion responsible for this torture and genocide, as religious beasts. But when a society condones murdering its members because they’re homosexual and creates a victim by punishing an innocent, or have violated a baseless religious custom codified into law precipitating infringement of one’s liberty and human dignity–there is no other suitable description. When religious beliefs cause such needless suffering (an absolute standard, btw…suffering is as real as rocks and trees, and objectively, some ways of life/beliefs/social arrangements promote human flourishing while minimizing suffering, and others clearly do not), “religious beast” is the most polite term I feel compelled to use on those who behave that way because of said beliefs.

    Ethical responsibility isn’t a simple thing. Though muslims differ in their beliefs (as do all religious people), and there are so-called moderate muslims (moderate and extremist/fundamentalist are terms with little meaning when applied to religious belief…as an extremist/fundamentalist is simply someone who says and does things because of their faith about which you disagree), Islam is just as much the moderate’s religion as it is the fundamentalist’s, and they share the responsibility of acts carried out in the name of Islam by those who are muslims and believe/behave differently than they do. All there is to any religion is those who practice it, i.e., the behaviors of those who subscribe to it…that’s all it can mean.

    Whenever I see the religious of all creed distance themselves from those who share a common faith (e.g., “we aren’t those kind of christian, muslim, jew”) while condemning those who criticize it but act despicably, I am seeing people trying to minimize and erase THEIR responsibility for faith caused actions that they are opposed, while preserving the faith that brought about the NEED for them to do it in the first place. Instead, what they should be doing is not distancing themselves from this evil, but embrace that it is a consequence of a shared religious faith, and actively pursue its eradication (however they can…because a person who preferences faith above human life/dignity/flourishing doesn’t have a faith worth a damn)…the cost is great, but the cost of doing nothing is great, too (and if you want to live an ethical life, far greater). But more than that, we as humans have an ethical responsibility to minimize and eliminate as much needless suffering and evil as we can, and doing nothing is just as ethically relevant as DOING SOMETHING. religious tolerance at the expense of human life or a cavalier dismissal of suffering to play up the importance of religious freedom…is an inexcusable evil that plagues western political discourse.

    And the stats on the moral opinions on women’s rights and gay rights in middle eastern countries and of european muslims…are depressing. So these attitudes amongst self identified muslims are not as “fringe” as we’d like to believe. And I am acutely aware that many who criticize islam are christianist bigots who couldn’t care less about the consequence of faith (especially not their own)…and that’s a damn shame that needs to be addressed loudly in the public square so as to marginalize them.

  10. SFshawn says

    One can only hope those who are tortured and denied their humanity will soon be freed from all injustice and inequality.
    Sad people in a sad country.

  11. Hmmm says

    Touché Mr. Tank, touché. I am quite happy to say I learned something from both your response and about yourself.

    I am sure you are familiar with this statement: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mohandas Gandhi.

    Let us both strive to do the same.

  12. Daniel says

    Maybe this is a digression somewhat, but PBS/Frontline recently ran an interesting show called “the dancing boys of afghanistan” that displayed how complicit their policing authorities were in the use of, or traffiking of, young boys as prostitutes/dancers for entertainment. Interesting viewing–and was made by a muslim documentarian.