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.

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Man Jailed Over Feminism Petition (Iran)

TEHRAN (AFP) – A male defender of the feminist cause in Iran has been sentenced to a year in prison, the moderate Kargozaran newspaper reported on Monday.

Amir Yaqoubali is a supporter of the “One Million Signatures” petition campaign launched in June 2006. According to a feminist website, he was arrested as he collected signatures.

The campaign seeks to change the Islamic republic’s laws on marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody by collecting signatures both online and in person.

In recent months four feminists — Rezvan Moghadam, Nahid Jafari, Nasrin Afzali and Marzieh Mortazi Langueroudi — were handed down suspended sentences of six months in prison and 10 lashes by Tehran Revolutionary Court for disorderly conduct in public.

In March last year, they took part in a rally outside the same court to protest against the arrest of five feminists in June 2006.

Several other activists, arrested for their pro-feminism stance, are still in jail.