Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Press Release: Al-Fatiha Calls on European Governments and Canada to Seek Further Details from Iran on Newly Reported Executions

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PRESS RELEASE
AL-FATIHA FOUNDATION
Media Contact:
Suha Fatima
Chair - Human Rights Committee

Tel. 202-452-5534
Email: gaymuslims@yahoo.com
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Al-Fatiha Calls on European Allies and Canada to Seek Further Details from Iran on Newly Reported Executions
November 14, 2005 - The Human Rights Committee of Al-Fatiha, a US-based organization dedicated to Muslim sexual and gender minorities called on European governments who have political contact with Iran to seek further details from the Iranian government on reports of the recent execution of three young men who may have been killed because of their sexual orientation and consensual sexual acts.
If the reports are accurate, the hanging of one man in early November and two men in mid-November would bring to total five young men including two teenagers (under 18 years of age) who have been executed by the government of Iran in less than four months.
According to Iran Focus, a non-profit news service provider that focuses on events in Iran, the latest executions were of one man in the Iranian twon of Sari (convicted of rape) and two young men who were hanged in a public square in the northern city of Gorgan after being found guilty of lavat, or homosexual relationship. The reports came from semi-official daily newspapers in Iran on November 8 and November 13 respectively.

Canada recently introduced a United Nations resolution expressing concerns over the violation of human rights in Iran. Al-Fatiha supports the Canadian resolution and called on European governments in the General Assembly to support the actions of the Canadian government.
Al-Fatiha will be sending letters to Candian and European government officials at the United Nations to support the human rights resolution.

Individuals and organizations in the United States are asked to not contact the Iranian government directly or to hold protests to condemn the Iranian government. Given the hostile relationship between the United States and Iran such actions may have a negative backlash against marginalized communities in Iran.

Al-Fatiha encouraged American counterparts to contact European governments and the Canadian foreign ministry to express grave concern on the sudden increase of executions against individuals who may have been executed due to their sexual orientation or because of consensual sex with the same gender.

Al-Fatiha is also working with human rights organizations in the United States including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, to strategize on possible actions by US-based individuals and organizations to hold Iran accountable to its human rights abuses. Plans may include writing a letter to Secretary of State Condalezza Rice and to hold meetings with human rights officials in the US State Department and European and Canadian government officials at the United Nations.
Reports indicate that Iran's new hardline government has thus far executed 92 individuals for various crimes deemed punishable by dealth, since the new hard-line government was elected less than six months ago.

Arrests of young people, women and political opponents have also increased since the election. Additionally the new government has appointed members of the Revolutionary Guard into key government positions.
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