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Holland Freezes Gay Extraditions To Iran

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Holland Freezes Gay Extraditions To Iran

by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief

Posted: July 31, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Amsterdam, The Netherlands) The Netherlands has become the second country to halt extraditions of gays to Iran in the wake of reports two gay teens were hanged after being found found "guilty of homosexuality".

The government announced that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would begin an investigation of the treatment of gays and lesbians in the Islamic state. Until that is complete, the government said, it would not expel gay asylum seekers from Iran.

The Netherlands had been under intense pressure from the LGBT rights group COC and from the opposition in Parliament.

The news comes as welcome relief for one asylum seeker whose application was rejected and had been scheduled to be returned to Iran next week.

The man, who has not been identified, escape Iran in the late nineties, COC said in a statement. He apparently fled the country after he was ordered to appear in court to explain his presence at what prosecutors called a homosexual party.

The man's partner was not so lucky, COC said. He was hanged a decade ago. The specific charge was smuggling, but gay rights activists say he was targeted because of his sexuality.

International rights groups say that Iran frequently uses "excuse" charges to put gays on trial for their lives.

Earlier this month, Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, were publicly executed in the northern city of Mashhad. (story)

Supporters of the government say the pair had threatened and abused a 13 year old but rights groups dispute the allegation.

Last week Sweden put a moratorium on the extradition of gays to Iran until the situation involving the teens is clarified.

"We are against the death penalty and we particularly react when it comes to the execution of minors, pregnant women and the mentally disabled," said Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Per Saland.

LGBT civil rights groups in the US, Britain and Russia have also called for a halt to gay expulsions to Iran. (story)

©365Gay.com 2005


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