Death penalty for man accused of homosexuality (Iran)

Nemat Safavi, arrested almost three years ago at the age of 16, has been condemned to death by a court in Ardebil, in the northwest Iranian Azerbaijan region.

Nemat has not killed anyone, stolen anything or even carried out any political activism.

Nemat has been accused of having homosexual relations.While that was not stated during the court case, he was accused of “sexual relations that were not admitted”.

A year ago, on a visit to Colombia University in New York, Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said “there were no homosexuals” in Iran in response to a question from a student.

Religious Police Arrest 55 at ‘gay’ Party (Saudi Arabia)

Riyadh, 30 July (AKI) – Saudi religious police have arrested 55 people at a party allegedly held by homosexuals at a farm in Qatif province in the east of the country.

According to a report on the Arab satellite TV channel, al-Arabiya, two young men were allegedly found wearing women’s make up and dancing on stage together.

The detainees were all handcuffed when they were arrested. Saudi police said during their search they found drugs and alcohol and other items that are prohibited under the country’s strict Sharia law.

A similar police blitz was carried out more than a month ago at another farmhouse in the same area where 21 alleged homosexuals were arrested. Some of those arrested were Filipinos and Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia.

Many of them were reportedly wearing women’s clothes and makeup at the party which was organised to celebrate the birthday of one of the group’s members.

On that occasion, religious police found alcohol, clothing and makeup hidden inside.

Homosexual Honour Killing (Turkey)

The partner of murdered gay student Ahmet Yildiz has been forced to flee Turkey in fear of his life.

Yildiz, a 26-year-old physics student, was shot leaving a cafe on the Bosphorus strait during the weekend.

His body was found in his car.

He was believed to be fleeing the attack when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

His partner, who held a German passport, left the country on the advice of the consulate.

He had no rights over his partner’s body, which has been left lying in the city morgue.

The murder is believed by Mr Yildiz’s friends to be an “honour killing” carried out by members of his own family.

“From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents,” a close friend told The Independent.

“They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing.”

Mr Yildiz’s friends fear that because of his family’s rejection of his sexuality they will not claim the body. His friends have no power to collect the body for burial.

Standing outside the morgue that held Mr Yildiz’s body, a friend of his told The Independent: “We’ve been trying to contact Ahmet’s family since Wednesday, to get them to take responsibility for the funeral. There’s no answer and I don’t think they are going to come.”

It is common for families of “honour killings” not to collect the body of the victim.

In the months leading up to his murder, Mr Yildiz had been to a prosecutor to report death threats he had received. The case was dropped.

Ahmet Yildiz represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco in 2007.

Sedef Cakmak, a friend and member of gay rights group Lambda said: “He fell victim to a war between old mentalities and growing civil liberties.”

Turkey has tried to project a more liberal attitude towards the LGBT community since it began lobbying the European Union for membership status.

This year’s gay Pride in Istanbul was the largest ever recorded in the city.

The ruling party, Justice and Development Party (AKP) was the first in Turkey’s history to send a deputy to a conference on Gay rights.

The AKP has struggled to balance the demands of Turkey’s more liberal population with the conservatives.

In May an Istanbul court placed a ban on the country’s largest LGBT civil rights group, Lambda.

Woman are usually the victims of “honour killings” and Ahmet Yildiz’s case is considered unique.

=====

The body of Ahmet Yildiz, Turkey’s first suspected victim of a gay “honour killing,” has been removed from the city morgue.

The remains of the 26-year-old physics student had been left there by his family, a move common in “honour killings” cases.

In Turkey only family members of the deceased have rights over the body.

While reports say Mr Yildiz’s corpse has been collected, no one knows which family member has claimed it. He was shot leaving a cafe on the Bosphorus strait during the weekend.

His body was found in his car.

His partner, who held a German passport, left the country on the advice of the consulate.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk he said:

“Ahmet had been receiving threats for as long as I knew him. He told me this has been going on since his coming out a year ago.

“When he came out to his parents, who had always suspected, they made him feel guilty about it.”

Mr Yildiz’s partner, who asked not to be named as he is in fear of his life, said had he joined his partner for an ice cream on last week, he would have been shot dead himself.

“Ahmet had asked me if I wanted to go out for an ice cream. as I had just settled down for the night at Ahmet’s flat, I declined.

“A couple of minutes later there were burst of loud gunfire outside the flat. I knew immediately that involved Ahmet and rushed out of the flat,” he said.

“I arrived at the scene to see Ahmet’s car reversing out of his parking space, trying to escape.

“I fought through some onlookers just in time to see him with his eyes open and asked him please don’t die, then he shut his eyes.”

Turkish police have yet to launch an investigation into the shooting.

Many of Mr. Yildiz’s friends, including his partner, believe his family are involved and murdered him because he was openly gay.

“Even before Ahmet came out there was trouble with his family,” Mr Yildiz’s bereaved partner said. “When he came out it only got worse.”

Homophobia in Turkey has always been rife, but according to Mr Yildiz’s partner, it has gotten worse over the last four years.

He describes homophobia in Turkey to be “unbelievably bad.”

“I can only speak for the Istanbul area but in the countryside it is much worse. In the country honour plays too strong a role for the family,” he said.

Mr Yildiz’s partner is not optimistic about his chances to bring Ahmet’s murderers to justice.

“I know the Turkish system. I know I haven’t got a leg to stand on. Human rights are known and accepted in the West but are not freely available in Turkey.

“I have no claim to his estate and body and cannot even collect my personal belongings from his flat. I cannot even bury my loved one.

“Apart from giving my statement to the press, I as an individual have absolutely no chance to bring his parents to justice for this murder of their son and my partner.”

Mr Yildiz’s partner has given statements to the police at the site of Ahmet’s murder, as well as handing in a signed statement to the local police station.

He fled Turkey the night of Mr Yildiz’s murder and has been living in fear of his life since.

Raids on Homosexuals (Saudi Arabia)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A Saudi newspaper says religious police have arrested 21 men on grounds they are homosexual and have confiscated large amounts of alcohol.

The al-Medina daily says Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice was told yesterday of a large gathering of young men at a rest house in a city in eastern Saudi Arabia. The paper says police initially arrested scores of men but only 21 remain in detention.

Homosexuality is regarded as a sin in Islam and prohibited by law in Saudi Arabia and most other Muslim nations. In the conservative kingdom, the offense can be punished by flogging or prison.

GAY ASSOCIATION CLOSED FOR IMMORALITY (Turkey)

(ANSAmed) – ANKARA, MAY 29 – A Turkish court ruled today the closure of the only gay rights association in Turkey after the prosecutor had said it violated the family protection and public morality laws, Turkish agency Anadolu reported. The agency added that the ruling was issued by a court in the Beyoglu district, in Istanbul’s centre, against the LambdaIstanbul group set up in 1993. Three years ago, the deputy governor of Ankara asked for the closure of the ‘Kaos’ association in which gays and lesbians living in the Turkish capital had joined, calling for the application of a norm which bans associations “against the law and morality”. However, the Ankara prosecutor rejected the request. Unlike the other Muslim states, homosexuality has never been a crime in Turkey, but is surrounded by a widespread social criticism with the exception of Istanbul’s European districts where there are various places of meeting reserved for homosexuals, without this sparking off scandal. Nevertheless, there are no laws for protecting the homosexuals from discrimination. (ANSAmed).

Gambia To Behead Homosexuals?

Gay rights activists have condemned Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s threat to behead homosexuals.

Last week he told a political rally that gay people had 24 hours to leave the country.

He promised “stricter laws than Iran” on homosexuality and said he would “cut off the head” of any gay person found in The Gambia.

Carey Johnson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council said the comments were “disgraceful”.

“What president Jammeh fails to realise is that there are a significant population of Gambians who are gay, and he has no right to ask them to leave,” Mr Johnson said.

The speech was “doubly disgraceful” because The Gambia is the host country for the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, he said.

Mr Johnson said the speech, part of President Jammeh’s 13-day tour of the country, was an attempt to scapegoat gay people and blame them for the country’s ills.

“He’s fighting to maintain his control over the country, he finds the weakest group and lays all the problems at their door,” Mr Johnson said.

‘History of homophobia’

“The Gambia is a country of believers… sinful and immoral practices [such] as homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country,” the president told a crowd at a political rally on May 15.

“Jammeh has a long history of homophobia,” said British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.

“If he tries to carry out these threats, international aid donors are likely to withdraw their support, and foreign tourists will stay away in droves, thereby damaging the Gambian economy,” he added.

Correspondents say a number of homosexual men have fled to The Gambia from neighbouring Senegal after a crackdown there following arrests at a “gay wedding” in February.

Both countries are predominantly Muslim and President Jammeh cultivates an image of being a devout Muslim.

In February last year, he was condemned by campaigners when he claimed to have cured people of HIV and Aids.

His “cure” was a mixture of herbs that patients ate and spread on their bodies.