Global LGBT Briefs: Executions and Incitement

More gays said to be executed in Iran, while gay Israelis take issue with Torah-quoting councilmember

Compiled by Will O'Bryan
Published on May 17, 2012, 5:03am | Comments

Reports Surface of More Gay Executions in Iran

While unconfirmed, reports are coming out of Iran that four men have been sentenced to death for sodomy. According to Pink News, ''Europe's largest gay news service,'' which cited the Human Rights Activist News Agency and Joopea News blogs, the four men will be hanged according to Shari'a law.

Pink News's May 12 story quoted London-based human rights lawyer Mehri Jafari in it's coverage of the story.

''After this announcement it is very likely that the execution will be carried out soon, and the remote location makes it difficult to exert any influence on the process,'' said Jafari. Reports put the condemned men in Choram, a remote town roughly 300 miles south of Tehran, about 50 miles inland from the Red Sea. ''I hope international organizations act quickly and effectively on this specific case.''

Pink News also quoted Gorji Marzban, chair of the Austrian-based Oriental Queer Organization.

''The death penalty has failed to eradicate homosexuality from Iran, but it was successful to force queer people into the closets,'' said Marzban. ''Sooner or later, any Islamic community is obliged to integrate queer people. We believe that Iranians should gain more gender equality and rights and wholly condemn such an archaic sentence to murder, which is inherently un-Islamic.''

Speaking through a translator at Columbia University in New York in 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, ''In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who has told you that we have it.''

Reports of executions of gay men in Iran surface routinely, including news of three men being executed for sodomy in September 2011, as reported by the U.K.'s Independent.

Gay Group Calls for Jerusalem Councilmember Investigation

An LGBT coalition within Israel's Labor Party has asked the nation's attorney general to investigate a member of Jerusalem's City Council for possibly inciting violence against gays, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Dan Slyper, co-chair of the Labor Party's LGBT Circle, says that Councilman Rabbi Yaakov Halperin, during a budget discussion of Jerusalem Open House, the city's LGBT community center, called for gays to be killed.

''A call to murder, even if made under the guise of citing the Torah, is still a call to murder,'' Slyper said May 14, referring to Halperin's alleged citation of the Torah. ''The limits to freedom of speech are clear, and incitement to murder is a line that cannot be crossed. If I quoted historical personages who called for the murder of Jews, could I get away with saying that this is merely a quotation?''

Slyper says Halperin quoted from Leviticus, which contains a passage often used, debatably, as evidence of homosexuality being a sin punishable by death.

''I did not incite,'' Halperin told the Post. ''I merely quoted exactly what is written in the Torah.''