London, 22 March 2008 – More than 100 protesters gathered in Whitehall opposite Downing Street in support of Mehdi Kazemi’s asylum appeal. Mr Kazemi, a gay man, is threatened with deportation to Iran where LGBT people risk torture and execution.
© OutRage! 1990-2010. You are free to use this photo to illustrate news stories and articles about OutRage!, the lesbian and gay human rights group, with credit to the group and photographer. For all other uses, please inquire. Photos: Brett Lock, OutRage!
LONDON, 13 March 2008 – George Galloway MP is accused of mouthing “the propaganda of the Iranian dictatorship” after he claimed on the Channel 5 TV talk show The Wright Stuff this morning that the boyfriend of gay asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi was executed for sex crimes. (see full transcript below).
The criticism comes from the gay human rights group, OutRage!.
“We are calling on George Galloway to explain the source of his claim that Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend had committed sex crimes and this was the reason he was executed,” said OutRage! spokesperson, Brett Lock.
Mr Galloway also denied that Iran executes homosexuals.
“Neither OutRage! nor any other human rights group has seen any evidence to suggest that Mr Kazemi’s partner was a rapist or sex-abuser.”
“George Galloway has made this claim. He should now produce the evidence.”
“This looks like the Iranian propaganda. The homophobic tyrants in Tehran frequently defame political, religious, and sexual dissidents with false claims of rape, alcoholism, drug-taking and hooliganism. But in this case, not even the Iranian authorities have made these allegations against Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend,” noted Mr Lock.
“Furthermore, Mr Galloway’s claim that gay people are not executed in Iran is refuted by every reputable human rights body, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Iran has the death penalty for homosexuality and gay people are often tortured to make confessions. They are hanged in public by the barbaric slow strangulation method which is deliberately designed to maximise and prolong the suffering of the victim,” said Mr Lock.
GG: The Independent has a story about Peers calling upon the Home Secretary to halt the deportation of a gay Iranian. In part this is being used as part of the on-going propaganda against Iran. All the papers seem to imply that you get executed in Iran for being gay. That’s not true.
MW: His boyfriend was hung though, wasn’t he?
GG: Yes, but nor being gay. For uh, committing sex crimes, uh, against young men.
GG: I mean, I’m against execution for any reason in any place, but it is important to avoid that propaganda.
MW: So you’re saying that his guy they want to deport should be deported because there is no risk of his sexuality.. or he shouldn’t be deported because there is at risk?
GG: He should not be deported not least because after all this Iranian propaganda he will be accused of being the source, or one of the sources. It would be ridiculous to deport him, and I don’t think he will be deported now.
A video clip of this will be available on YouTube for a short while:
George Galloway MP repeats the slander that gay Iranians are executed for “committing sex crimes againts young men” not because they’re gay – on the Matthew Wright show, 13 March 2008.
Galloway digs in even deeper, now claiming that gay people can “meet for trysts” openly in the centre of Tehran. (C5, Wright Stuff, 14 March 2008)
Activists Arsham Parsi and Peter Tatchell explain the life-threatening situation for lesbian and gay people in Iran, during the BBC News (12 March 2008) item on gay asylum seeker, Mehdi Kazemi.