Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gays should be hanged, says Iranian minister

Why the international community does not stand firmer on human rights violations in Iran and other nations truly disturbs me. Sadly, in the case of Iran, it is probably explained with one word: Oil. Too many nations - like the USA - are hostage to their oil dependence and, therefore, will not force the issue. Meanwhile, people continue to die needless and gruesome deaths. Here are highlights from a London Times story (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2859606.ece) concerning the mentality currently governing in Iran:
Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learnt. Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged.

Britain regularly challenges Iran about its gay hangings, stonings and executions of adulterers and perceived moral criminals, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) papers show. The latest row involves a woman hanged this June in the town of Gorgan after becoming pregnant by her brother. He was absolved after expressing his remorse. Britain said that this demonstrated the unequal treatment of men and women in law and breached Iran’s pledge to restrict the death penalty to the most serious crimes.

A series of reported executions of gays, including two underage boys whose public hanging was posted on the internet, has alarmed human rights campaigners. The Pet Shop Boys dedicated Fundamental, their Grammy-nominated album, to Mahmoud Asqari and Ayad Marhouni, who were hanged in Justice Square in Mashhad in 2005. Graphic photographs of the execution of the youths, who were under 18 when arrested, were released by the Iranian Students News Agency.

When the Britons raised the hangings of Asqari and Marhouni, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mr Yahyavi, a member of his parliament’s energy committee, was unflinching. He “explained that according to Islam gays and lesbianism were not permitted”, the record states. “He said that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed [he initially said tortured but changed it to executed]. He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce.”

Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Nigeria apply the death penalty for homosexuality, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

Obviously, this horrible situation is yet one more reason for western energy independence. But for the power of their oil wealth, most of these countries would be powerless. It is also one of the reasons that I believe in general that religion is more often than not a force for evil in the world rather than a force for good.

1 comment:

Java said...

Concerning oil dependence: my sweetie showed me an article recently about some new science (I think it is new) that can make energy from water. I'll try to get him to send me a link, because I don't know enough about it to discuss it intelligently. (Not that I let that stop me.) But he seems to think it would not be prohibitively expensive to develop that technology for commercial use.

What can we do as a country to stop this atrocious torture in Iran? In my limited understanding, I believe that's one of the reasons Bush waged war against Iraq in the first place. But waging all out war in Iran is probably a bad idea. I'm talking about things I don't really understand, but I seriously question what actions the US or any other outside state/agency can take against the extreme persecution going on in Iran (and elsewhere…).