Scott Capurro, Jeremy Sheffield, Q Boy and Josh Rafter picket Iranian
Boy George, Matt Lucas, Simon Callow condemn Iranian murderers
Petition rejected by Iran Embassy – Now to be delivered to Foreign
London – 4 October 2005
TV soap and film actor Jeremy Sheffield, gay rap star Q Boy, comedian
Scott Cappurro, Big Brother contestant Josh Rafter, out gay Labour MP
Chris Bryant and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell today joined a
50-strong protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London.
The protest was also backed by Little Britain TV star Matt Lucas,
Hollywood actor Simon Callow and pop singer and DJ Boy George.
The protest was part of an on-going series of global demonstrations
against the Iranian government’s arrest, imprisonment, whipping and
execution of gay men.
It was organised by the gay magazine Axm, and by the queer rights
OutRage! expresses its appreciation to Axm for its splendid work in
making this protest possible.
“We are here to condemn Iran’s execution and torture of gay men, and
to demand international action against the tyrannical Iranian regime”
said protest co-organiser Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights
“The international community should issue an ultimatum to Iran: either
respect human rights, or face economic sanctions. There can be no
normal relations with an abnormal regime that executes gay people,
unchaste women, Muslims who renounce their faith, and political,
religious and ethnic minorities.
STOP PRESS: New photo of the executed teenagers:
Photos of today’s London protest:
“Two teenagers were hanged in the Iranian city of Mashhad on 19 July,
on charges involving homosexual acts. A 22 year old gay man, Amir,
recently fled Iraq after being given 100 lashes. He was lashed for
merely being gay, not for having gay sex. The lashes left his back
covered in open bloody wounds. The police warned him that if they
caught him again he would be executed like the teenagers in Mashhad.
“Iranian agents, posing as gay men, have been arranging dates in gay
chat rooms, luring respondents to rendezvous, and then arresting,
beating and torturing them. This is part of a sustained witch-hunt of
gay people by the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran.
“We express our solidarity with lesbian and gay Iranians, and with all
the people of Iran who are struggling for democracy and human rights.
The Ayatollah’s clerical fascist regime is the problem. There can be
no freedom for any Iranian – gay or straight – while the Islamists
remain in power and enforce the barbarism of Sharia law. OutRage!
supports the efforts of Iranian democrats, socialists, communists,
trade unionists, students, feminists and gays to overthrow the Iranian
theocracy,” said Peter Tatchell.
As well as the celebrity speakers, the protest was addressed by
Iranian exiles, representing pro-gay opposition groups that are
battling against the butchers in Tehran.
These speakers included Maryam Kousha of the Iran Civil Rights
Committee, Maziar Razi of the Iranian Workers Solidarity Network, and
Bahram Soroush of the Worker’s Communist Party of Iran. These groups
have backed the LGBT freedom struggle in Iran, assisting OutRage! in
the translation of messages and smuggling out of Iran information
about the persecution of LGBT people.
Thousands of Axm readers have signed the Axm 'Homophobia Kills'
petition, condemning the Iranian executions.
The Iranian Embassy refused to accept the petition.
Instead, the petition will be delivered by openly gay Labour MP Chris
Bryant to the UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw MP, with a request that
he calls on the Iranian government to halt its persecution of the LGBT
community in Iran.
We thank everyone who signed the petition.
Endorsing the protest, the star of the Little Britain TV comedy, Matt
“Recently in Iran two teenagers were executed for being gay. This is
just one example of the constant persecution of gay and lesbian people
by the Iranian government. I support efforts to put pressure on the
Iranian government to stop this persecution. While gay visibility has
grown in Britain in recent years we cannot forget the plight of those
in more hostile parts of the world who live with the daily risk of
jail, torture and execution for no other reason than their
Hollywood actor Simon Callow (Four Weddings and A Funeral) said:
'I'm sorry, I can't make it to the Embassy on the 4th. I'm filming all
day. But I unreservedly condemn this savage and barbaric treatment of
homosexual men in Iran. It is inconceivable that we should have
diplomatic relations with a country which betrays its citizens in this
Two gay teenagers were publicly executed in Iran on 19 July 2005. The
youths were hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad,
in North East Iran.
They were sentenced to death by Court No. 19. Iran enforces Islamic
Sharia law, which dictates the death penalty for gay sex. One youth
was aged 18 and the other was a minor under the age of 18.
They admitted to having gay sex (probably under torture) but claimed
in their defence that they were not aware that homosexuality was
punishable by death.
Prior to their execution, the teenagers were held in prison for 14
months and severely beaten with 228 lashes.
Their length of detention suggests that they committed the so-called
offences more than a year earlier, when they were possibly around the
age of 16 or 17.
“Although the Iranian government claims the youths were executed for
the rape of a 13 year old boy, underground gay groups inside Iran tell
us that the two teenagers were lovers,” said Peter Tatchell of
“They say the Iranian government routinely makes up false allegations
- such as rape, drug-taking and spying - to discredit the people it
executes and to discourage public protests,” Mr Tatchell said.
According to Axm magazine editor, Matthew Miles:
'The shocking images of the executed Iranian teenagers have galvanised
our print and online readers, with thousands of people signing our
petition in a ten day period. As LGBT people in the West finally gain
most of the rights we deserve, it seems we are proving that there is
such a thing as a global gay community by focusing on the struggle for
equality in more hostile parts of the world. Protest is only a step
but, as organisations such as Amnesty International and OutRage! have
proved, it can and does bring change. That is why, along with
OutRage!, Axm magazine organised today’s protest against the Iranian
Brett Lock OutRage! 07xxx xxxxxxwww.outrage.org.uk
Matthew Miles Axm 07xxx xxxxxx / 02xxx xxxxxx. Email:
Sign the petition against Iranian homophobia online, or by post:
Post: Iran Petition, Axm magazine, 2 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3DH