Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Iran is all for a dialogue, unless you are a homosexual.

Goudarz Eghtedari arrived in Japan earlier this month to testify at the nation's first trial to focus on the sexual orientation of an asylum-seeker.

The U.S.-based Iranian human rights activist told the Tokyo District Court on Feb. 18 that the plaintiff, an Iranian homosexual, would likely face capital punishment if the Justice Ministry carried out its order to deport him to Iran.

The plaintiff, who goes by the assumed name of Shayda, is seeking asylum in Japan. His application for asylum has been rejected by the Justice Ministry.

According to a source close to Shayda, a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization called the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is aware of at least 14 Iranian homosexuals and transgenders who gained asylum in the United States and nine in Canada in the four years since 1995.

"It's not only that I'm not homosexual, but I'm not getting into a discussion about whether it's right or wrong," he said. "That wasn't really my intention. I'm talking about the whole concept (of universal human rights).

"These punishments that are mostly happening in the Islamic world--for example cutting off hands, beheading or stoning to death for sexual crimes--are not proportionate to the crime. That's why I stood up against them."

< email | 2/26/2003 04:58:00 PM | link

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