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Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Background: gay parade in San Francisco. Illustration by MosNews.Com
Gays To Sue “Homophobic” Moscow Mayor Luzhkov for Banning Gay Pride
Created: 30.07.2005 06:16 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 06:16 MSK, 30.07.2005
Moscow authorities will never allow a Gay Pride march to take place in Russia’s capital, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov announced on Friday. He noted, that no formal request to conduct such an event had been received by the City Hall so far, but when a request is duly filed, it will be rejected outright, “to protect the feelings of Muscovites, who would definitely oppose such an event”, in Luzhkov’s words.
“Moscow Mayor has once again revealed his true homophobic self”, ・reads GayRussia.Ru website’s comment to the Mayor’s promise.
The statement by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov came as a response to Thursday’s announcement by Russian gay and lesbian activists, that they will apply for a permit to hold pride celebrations in Moscow next May. If it is granted it would be the first pride parade ever held in the Russian capital. Speaking at a news conference, Nikolay Alekseyev, leader of the Gay Russia.Ru project, said the projected date is May 27, 2006 — the anniversary of the abolition of laws against homosexuality in 1993. Soviet laws deemed male homosexuality a criminal offence, punished by several years’ imprisonment.
Both Nikolay Alexeyev, and lesbian activist Evgeniya Debryanskaya, speaking at the same conference, said that in case of refusal to allow the march they will sue the Moscow Mayor in the European court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Russian gays attempted to hold a pride march in Moscow in 2001 in Moscow but officials refused to grant a permit saying it would be contrary to people's religious feelings, Lenta.Ru news agency reports. In 2005, though, gay pride event organizers scored a number of victories in several former communist satellite states. In Riga, capital of Latvia, the local court lifted a ban over Gay Pride celebrations, imposed by the city council in the beginning of July. In Warsaw more than 2500 gays took part in a march, despite municipal ban. “Such events had already taken place in Tallinn, Riga, Bucharest, Sofia and Bratislava”, ・Lenta.Ru quotes Nikolay Alexeyev as saying.
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Moscow Mayor: Nyet To Gay Pride
by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief
Posted: July 29, 2005 7:30 pm ET
(Moscow) A day after Moscow LGBT rights groups announced they would seek permission to hold the first gay pride march in the Russian capital next year the city's mayor has told them not to bother.
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said that if he receives an official request from the groups it will be turned down without discussion.
In an interview Friday with Russia's Interfax news agency Luzhkov said that he “stands on the protection of the interests of Moscovites and they would not support such an initiative."
Nikolay Alekseyev, leader of the Gay Russia.Ru project and Evgeniya Debryanskaya leader of a lesbian rights group said they are not deterred.
They say that if Luzhkov denies them a parade permit they'll go to court and are prepared to take the case all the way to the European Court in Strasbourg.
"Both legally and constitutionally Mayor Luzhkov can not deny to us only because we are gay," said Debryanskaya.
She said she expected that rather than use opposition to gays as the "official" reason for refusing the allow the parade, Luzhkov might invent an excuse. "Authorities will probably say that they have to change the surface on the road which will be supposed to be used by the gay pride [parade]," she said.
The two organizations announced plans on Thursday to hold the parade May 27, 2006 - the anniversary of the abolition of laws against homosexuality in 1993. (story)
Russian Gays Plan First Moscow Pride
by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief
Posted: July 28, 2005 8:00 pm ET
(Moscow) A Russian LGBT rights group says it will apply for a permit to hold pride celebrations in Moscow next May. If it is granted it would be the first pride parade ever held in the Russian capital.
At a news conference, Nikolay Alekseyev, leader of the Gay Russia.Ru project, said the projected date is May 27 - the anniversary of the abolition of laws against homosexuality in 1993.
Russian gays attempted to hold a pride march in Moscow in 2001 in Moscow but officials refused to grant a permit saying it would be contrary to people’s religious feelings.
Moscow is the biggest city in Europe ever to have had a pride parade.
Alekseyev said his group would apply to the Moscow Mayor’s Office for a permit for next year's planned celebration.
He said that because the parade would be held on a Saturday he believed he would be successful in getting a permit.
The mayor's office has not indicated whether it will comply. Alekseyev said that if the permit was denied his group would go to the European court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Pride organizers had to battle local officials and protestors in several former communist satellite states this year.
In Latvia, a judge overruled a city decision not to allow a pride parade earlier this month in Riga, the capital. Police arrested a number of protesters during the first gay pride parade ever held in the city. (story)
In June, the mayor of Warsaw banned gay pride from the Polish capital city. Despite the edict more than 2,500 people marched anyway. (story)
Russian homosexuals hope to hold a gay parade in Moscow in defiance of people’s religious feelings
Moscow, July 28, Interfax - Sexual minorities in Russia intend to obtain a permission of the Moscow Mayor’s Office for the first gay parade to be held in the Russian capital city.
‘We plan to hand in an official request to the Moscow Mayor’s Office for holding the first ever gay parade on next May 27, the day when criminal responsibility for sexuality was abolished in Russia in 1993’, Nikolay Alekseyev, leader of the Gay Russia.Ru project, said at a press conference on Thursday in Moscow.
He asserts Moscow is one of few major cities in the world that has never had such marches.
‘Such parades are held throughout the world. In the post-socialist space, in particular, they took place in Tallinn, Riga, Bucharest, Sofia and Bratislava. Such a march was cancelled in 2001 in Moscow, because it is believed to run contrary to people’s religious feelings’, Alekseyev complained.
A fatwa for transsexuals
One woman's courage in appealing to the late Ayatollah Khomeini has made Tehran the unlikely sex change capital of the world.
By Robert Tait - Guardian/Salon
July 28, 2005 | It could take something extraordinary to move the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa (or religious and legal decree). Novelist Salman Rushdie did it by challenging the sanctity of the prophet Mohammed in "The Satanic Verses," provoking Iran's austere revolutionary leader into pronouncing the death sentence. For Maryam Khatoon Molkara it required the equally dramatic step of confronting Khomeini in person and proving, in graphic terms, that she was a woman trapped inside a man's body.
To do so, she had to endure a ferocious beating from bodyguards before coming face to face with the ayatollah in his living room, covered in blood, dressed in a man's suit and, thanks to a course of hormone treatment, sporting fully formed female breasts.
"It was behesht [paradise]," Molkara, 55, says of the meeting 22 years ago. "The atmosphere, the moment and the person were paradise for me. I had the feeling that from then on there would be a sort of light." Light or not, the encounter produced, in turn, a religious judgment that -- unlike the unfulfilled edict on Rushdie -- has had an enduring effect that still resonates. Because today, the Islamic Republic of Iran occupies the unlikely role of global leader for sex changes.
In contrast to almost everywhere else in the Muslim world, sex change operations are legal in Iran for anyone who can afford the minimum $3,500 cost and satisfy interviewers that he or she meets necessary psychological criteria. As a result, women who endured agonizing childhood and adolescent experiences as boys, and -- albeit in fewer numbers -- young men who reached sexual maturity as girls, are easy to find in Tehran. Iran has even become a magnet for patients from eastern European and Arab countries seeking to change their gender.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning in Dr. Bahram Mir-Jalali's Tehran clinic, young men and women gather in preparation for a new start on the opposite side of the gender divide. Many are desperate, seeing the operation as an escape from a confused sexual identity that has led to parental rejection and persecution by police and religious vigilantes.
Ali-Reza, 24, wearing thick makeup, has livid red burn marks on his arm after his father poured boiling water over him in a rage over his "sexual deviancy." "I have attempted suicide three times," he says. "The interpretation of my family was that having a child like me was a punishment from God. My parents were religious and traditional, and they called me trash under the name of Islam."
Others voice feelings of spiritual renewal after the surgery. "It's like a rebirth," says Hasti, formerly Hassan, now reinvented as a svelte, leggy 20-year-old who is planning to marry her German fiancé. "I've even forgotten my male birthday. I only remember my female birthday, the day when I received the operation. It was very painful, but I feel happy whereas before I was always crying."
Mir-Jalali, 66, a Paris-trained surgeon, has performed 320 gender operations in the past 12 years. Around 250 have involved the complex and physically painful process of transforming men into women by creating female genitals through a skin graft from the intestines. In a European country, he says, he would have carried out fewer than 40 such procedures over the same period. The reason for the discrepancy, he says, is Iran's strict ban on homosexuality, as required by the Quran.
"In Iran, homosexuality is treated as a crime carrying the death penalty," he says. "In Europe and North America, it is accepted. Transsexuals aren't homosexuals. Unlike homosexuals, they suffer from a separation of body and soul where they believe their own body doesn't belong to them. But in Europe they can have a free life. They aren't under the same pressure to change their sex. In Iran, transsexuals suffer from a lack of awareness, within their own family and in wider society. That increases the psychological pressure and contributes to the higher number of operations here."
Nevertheless, the surgery's availability has provided deliverance to a community that was once cowed and confined to a secret underground existence. Bringing it about has required a theological rethink from Iran's Shiite Islamic rulers, accustomed to rigidly traditional stances on sexual matters.
Indeed, Islamic scholars are still trying to reconcile the fatwa with religious thinking. Hojatolislam Muhammad Mehdi Kariminia, a cleric based in the holy city of Qom, is writing a Ph.D. thesis on transsexuality. "The basic humanity of the person is preserved," is his conclusion. "The change is simply of characteristics."
This situation would have been unthinkable were it not for the bravery and persistence of Molkara, who embarked on a personal odyssey that brought persecution and abuse in her quest for Khomeini's official blessing. Khomeini had pronounced on gender problems in a book written in 1963, when he indicated there was no religious proscription against corrective surgery. However, says Molkara, the statement applied only to hermaphrodites, defined as those bearing both male and female genital characteristics. It provided no remedy for those -- such as Molkara -- who physically belonged to one gender but were convinced that they were members of the opposite sex.
In 1975, Molkara -- then working with Iranian television and going by her male name of Fereydoon -- wrote the first of several letters to the ayatollah, then exiled in Iraq in opposition to the shah.
"I told him I had always had the feeling that I was a woman," she says. "I wrote that my mother had told me that even at the age of 2, she had found me in front of the mirror putting chalk on my face the same way a woman puts on her makeup. He wrote back, saying that I should follow the Islamic obligations of being a woman."
In 1978 Molkara traveled to Paris, where Khomeini was by then based, to lobby him in person. She was unsuccessful, and the subsequent Islamic revolution, far from easing the transsexuals' path, cast them into darkness. Some were locked up in Tehran's notorious Evin prison while others were stoned to death. Molkara, meanwhile, was fired from her job, forcibly injected with male hormones and confined to a psychiatric institution.
Thanks to her contacts with influential clerics, Molkara was released and resolved to keep fighting. She lobbied several leading figures in the regime, including Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who later became president. All urged her to write once again to Khomeini.
"I couldn't continue like this," she says. "I knew I could get the operation easily enough in London, but I wanted the documentation so I could live." Desperate for the religious blessing that would confer legal protection in staunchly Islamic Iran, Molkara decided on a fateful step.
Donning a man's suit, she walked to Khomeini's heavily protected compound in north Tehran, carrying a copy of the Quran. In an additional piece of religious symbolism, she had tied shoes around her neck. The gesture -- redolent of Ashura, the Shiite festival depicting the heroism of the third imam Hossein -- was meant to convey that she was seeking shelter.
At first, it failed to provide her with any. As she approached the compound, armed security guards pounced and began beating her. They stopped only when Khomeini's brother, Hassan Pasandide, witnessing the scene, intervened and took Molkara into his house.
There, Molkara -- then bearded, tall and powerfully built -- hysterically tried to explain her predicament. "I was screaming, 'I'm a woman, I'm a woman,'" she says. The security guards, fearing Molkara was carrying explosives, were anxious about the band wrapped around her chest. She removed it to reveal the female breasts underneath. The women in the room rushed to cover her with a chador.
By then, Khomeini's son, Ahmad, had arrived and was moved to tears by Molkara's story. Amid the emotion, it was decided to take Molkara to the supreme leader himself. On meeting the nearly mythic figure in whom she had invested such hope, Molkara fainted.
"I was taken into a corridor," Molkara says. "I could hear Khomeini raising his voice. He was blaming those around him, asking how they could mistreat someone who had come for shelter. He was saying, 'This person is God's servant.' He had three of his trusted doctors in the room, and he asked what the difference was between hermaphrodites and transsexuals. What are these 'difficult neutrals,' he was saying. Khomeini didn't know about the condition until then. From that moment on, everything changed for me."
Molkara left the Khomeini compound with a letter addressed to the chief prosecutor and the head of medical ethics giving religious authorization for her -- and, by implication, others like her -- to surgically change their gender. It was the fatwa she had sought.
Subsequently, Molkara struggled to convince fellow transsexuals of their rights and to introduce the requisite medical standards for sex change operations to Iran. She only completed her gender change four years ago, ironically undergoing the surgery in Thailand because of unhappiness with procedures in her native country.
Today she runs Iran's leading transsexual campaign group and has become the community's spokesperson. But two security monitors in her living room attest to her vulnerability in a society still intolerant of sexual unorthodoxy. "It is hard to live with constant fear," she says. "I hope things are easier for the next generation of transsexuals. Every time a transsexual is arrested by the police I am called to bail them out. Outside the police station there will be a crowd of vigilantes waiting to beat me or stone my car."
A brief encounter with Iran's hallowed religious leader may have brought light. But for many Iranians, enlightenment has yet to dawn.
For Immediate Release:
Friday, July 28, 2005
DEFENSE GIANT RAYTHEON PROTECTS TRANSGENDER EMPLOYEES
‘Our national security deserves the nation’s best defense experts, regardless of who they are,’ said HRC’s Joe Solmonese. - Human Rights Campaign
WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign lauded Raytheon Co. for adding gender identity and expression to its equal opportunity policy. Raytheon becomes the first aerospace and defense giant to rank 100 percent in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies on how they treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and investors.
“Our national security deserves the nation’s best thinkers, regardless of who they are,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Raytheon employs some of the nation’s top security experts and wants them focused fully on their job. The threat of discrimination hurts job performance and Raytheon understands that. We’re proud to see Raytheon achieve a 100 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign, showing its commitment to this issue of fundamental fairness.”
Hayward L. Bell, Raytheon’s chief diversity officer, explained, “For Raytheon, adding gender identity and expression to our policy was an example of matching the talk with the walk. We have historically supported employees facing transitions so this policy change makes our intention and beliefs regarding inclusion more explicit and it ensures consistency across the company. In addition, we have provided information kits on gender identity and expression to our leaders and human resources professionals to ensure they are more knowledgeable and thus better able to support Raytheon employees.”
“Knowing I’m going to be evaluated on how well I do my job and not my gender identity or expression is key to my productivity as an employee,” said Amanda Simpson, a Raytheon employee for 22 years. “As a transgender employee, who transitioned while at Raytheon, I am especially proud of my company for ensuring our EEO policy now covers bias against gender identity and expression.”
HRC’s Corporate Equality Index requires that a company prohibit gender identity-based discrimination in order to achieve a 100 percent ranking. At least 72 Fortune 500 companies, including Raytheon, prohibit gender identity-based discrimination.
Raytheon Co., with 2004 sales of $20.2 billion, is an industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information technology, technical services and business and special mission aircraft. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 80,000 people worldwide.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
Home > Business
Firm offers transgender protections
Diversity policy also expanded to cover transsexual workers
By Diane E. Lewis, Globe Staff | July 29, 2005 - Boston Globe
Raytheon Co. last week expanded its equal opportunity employment policy to include transgender and transsexual workers, becoming the first of the six big defense firms to do so.
Hayward L. Bell, chief diversity officer at the Waltham firm, said the company has also given out information kits on gender identity and expression to managers and human resource professionals ''to ensure they are more knowledgeable and better able to support Raytheon employees."
''This will allow people to be who they are, and not have to hide it," said Bell. ''It's also our way of saying that we recognize that these differences exist, and we are looking for your talent and what you can contribute."
The company, which employs 80,000 worldwide, said a previous policy did not formally include transgender or transsexual individuals, but focused instead on sexual orientation.
Currently, 71 of the Fortune 500 firms include gender identity and expression in their policies.
Of those, 40 have expanded their policies since January 2004, including Ford Motor Co., Pepsi Co., Wells Fargo, and Framingham-based Staples Inc., the only other Massachusetts company on the Fortune 500 list. It changed its policy in May, according to the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., a national support group for gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people.
A spokesman for Staples yesterday declined to comment on the company's policy.
The support group, which announced Raytheon's decision yesterday, gave the firm a 100 percent rating on its Corporate Equality Index. The index rates US firms with at least 500 employees on the treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers and investors based on information on domestic benefits, corporate policies, diversity training, and affinity groups.
Specialists said yesterday that some companies are reluctant to expand their policies because of confusion over the various definitions for different forms of sexuality, noting that many employers assume that sexual orientation will cover all groups when it refers only to relationships and attraction.
By contrast, gender expression and identity describe how people feel or express themselves.
''The expansion of gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender rights has been incremental," said Kitty Krupat, associate director of worker education at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the City University of New York. ''The recognition of the varieties of sexual identity has been slow in coming. People tend to think, well, you're gay, you're gay. For them, there is nothing in between and little variety within these categories."
At Raytheon, the push to include gender identity and expression in a company-wide policy began about five years ago with Amanda Simpson, a chief engineer and test pilot at Raytheon's Missile Systems Co., which employs 12,000 in Tucson. Simpson, 44, underwent a sex-change operation and became a woman about 6 1/2 years ago. She said in a phone interview that after her operation, she was surprised to learn the firm's policy did not include transgender or transsexual workers or people who either identify with the opposite sex, express their gender differently, or have had a medical and surgical sex change.
Simpson said about 18 other Raytheon employees are openly transsexual or transgender.
She said that in the past, US workers seeking to change their gender or form of expression quit their jobs and found new ones to avoid harassment.
''That's not the road I chose," Simpson said. ''The company offered to transfer me. It had supported other people in that way before, but I said, 'I like where I am, and I like the people I work with.' "
She said the decision to expand the policy took on new life after Bell's appointment in January.
''It might be that the out-going diversity person told him the policy needed to be changed and Bell made it a priority," Simpson said. ''That says a lot for Raytheon. It says it really embraces diversity."
Jeremy Bishop, acting director of Pride at Work, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, said more companies are starting to rethink their policies.
''More people are transitioning on the job, and they are more open about it," he said. ''There are also serious discrimination issues and companies are waking up to that . . . Some of it has to do with bathroom issues, people not feeling safe because of their identity. So we have been pushing for gender-neutral bathrooms . . . and we've been pushing companies to expand their policies."
Diane E. Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giant Defense Contractor Protects Transgender Workers
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: July 29, 2005 1:00 pm ET
(Boston, Massachusetts) Raytheon has joined a growing number of companies to recognize the role played by the transgendered in the workplace.
The company has added gender identity and expression to its equal opportunity policy. The Waltham Massachusetts-based company has had protections for gay and lesbian workers for several years.
Currently, 71 of the Fortune 500 firms include gender identity and expression in their policies. Raytheon is the first defense contractor to provide the protections.
"For Raytheon, adding gender identity and expression to our policy was an example of matching the talk with the walk," said Hayward L. Bell, Raytheon's chief diversity officer.
"We have historically supported employees facing transitions so this policy change makes our intention and beliefs regarding inclusion more explicit and it ensures consistency across the company."
Bell said that the company has provided information kits on gender identity and expression to department managers and human resources officers.
The decision was welcome news for Amanda Simpson, a Raytheon employee for 22 years.
"Knowing I'm going to be evaluated on how well I do my job and not my gender identity or expression is key to my productivity as an employee," Simpson said. "As a transgender employee, who transitioned while at Raytheon, I am especially proud of my company."
The news was also hailed by Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
"Our national security deserves the nation's best thinkers, regardless of who they are," said Solmonese in a statement.
"Raytheon employs some of the nation's top security experts and wants them focused fully on their job. The threat of discrimination hurts job performance and Raytheon understands that.
Raytheon employs 80,000 people worldwide.
Group: Iran Execution of Teens a Violation
By Associated Press
July 29, 2005, 2:08 AM EDT
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Iran's executions of two teenagers last week violated international law, a New York-based human rights group has said.
Human Rights Watch condemned the July 19 public hangings of the two, aged 18 and 16, after they were found guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy more than a year earlier. The older convict was 17 at the time of the offense.
The hanging brought condemnation from many foreign governments, including the United States.
"Death is an inhumane punishment, particularly for someone under 18 at the time of his crimes," Hadi Ghaemi, Iran researcher for the rights group, said in a statement issued Wednesday. "All but a handful of countries forbid such executions. Iran should as well."
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and other rights advocates in Iran also protested the hangings, which took place in the northeastern city of Mashhad. Iran's Supreme Court upheld the verdict and allowed the execution.
In letters to Iran's president and the head of the country's judiciary, the rights group asked Iran to refrain from "inhumane" executions, especially of minors.
Besides Iran, only China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and the United States are known to have put juvenile offenders to death in the past five years, Human Rights Watch said.
Before the two youths were executed, each received 228 lashes for theft, disturbing public order and consuming alcohol.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibit imposing the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18, the rights group said. Iran has ratified both treaties.
Iran is thought to have executed at least four other juvenile offenders in 2004, and at least 30 juvenile offenders are on the country's death row.
Rights Advocates Condemn Iran for Executing 2 Young Men
By NAZILA FATHI
Published: July 29, 2005 - New York Times
TEHRAN, July 28 - Human rights advocates have condemned the execution last week of two young men convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy, calling it a violation of international law.
The ages of the two men were not announced by Iranian officials at the time of the execution, which took place on July 19 in Mashad in northeast Iran. But Human Rights Watch said they were 18 and 19, and the younger man was a juvenile when the assault took place.
"Death is an inhumane punishment, particularly for someone under 18 at the time of his crimes," Hadi Ghaemi, an Iran researcher for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement issued Wednesday. "All but a handful of countries forbid such executions. Iran should as well."
The two were hanged in public in Mashad after they received 228 lashes. They were convicted of raping a 13-year-old boy 14 months earlier, theft and drinking alcohol, which is banned under Iran's Islamic law. Their lawyer, Ruhollah Rezazadeh, was quoted by ISNA, the student news agency, as saying that one of the young men was under 18 when he was executed. The Associated Press identified them as Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni.
ISNA carried photographs of the execution showing two hooded men tightening ropes around the necks of two blindfolded young men. Iran's penal code allows execution of girls older than 9 and boys older than 15 if they commit crimes like murder and rape. In 2003, a court executed a 16-year-old girl in Neka in the north for having an illegal sexual relationship. Her family said she had suffered from a psychological disorder.
In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled in March that the juvenile death penalty was unconstitutional. Nineteen such executions have occurred since 1990, most recently in 2003. According to the Human Rights Watch statement, China, Congo and Pakistan are also known to have put juvenile offenders to death in the last five years.
Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, said in an interview that she condemned the executions "and also the law that allows such sentences."
"No judge can rule otherwise as long as such a law is in place," she said. "Some 40 other juveniles have been sentenced to death and are waiting for their executions to be carried out."
The judiciary announced in a report last week a list of human rights violations at Iran's prisons but it did not point to the execution of juveniles or the increasing pressure on advocates of political causes. On Wednesday, a court issued an arrest warrant for Abdolfateh Soltani, one of the lawyers defending the family of an Iranian-Canadian journalist, Zahra Kazemi, who was killed in prison in 2003. The family's lawyers have demanded an appeal court to review the case after a court said her death was unintentional. The reason for Mr. Soltani's arrest was not specified in the warrant, Ms. Ebadi said.
The health of a political advocate, Akbar Ganji, who has been jailed for more than five years, has been deteriorating after more than a month and a half on hunger strike. His demand to be released unconditionally has been denied.
Iran News Jul 29th, 2005 - 16:17:01
Page One > Iran News
Barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran
Jul 29, 2005
The Iranian government is apparently hunting more gay teens, after publicly executing two boys for having sex with each other last week.
According to campaigners, police officials are searching for three boys connected with the "crimes" of Mahmoud Asgari (16) and Ayaz Marhoni (18), who were hanged last week.
An international protest is being urged in response to the hangings, which were conducted in accordance with the ultra conservative Sharia law.
Campaigners across the globe are calling for more action to be taken against the Iranian government for its actions.
The boys being hunted are thought to have been named by the hanged boys under torture, the Outrage! group claims. They have since disappeared.
It is thought that Asgari and Marhoni were subjected to more than 200 lashings during their 14 months in prison and forced to confess to crimes they may have not committed.
They were also accused of raping a 13-year-old boy, although the majority of press reports have dismissed this charge as an attempt to avoid any censure from international governments or human rights bodies.
"This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran," Outrage! campaigner Peter Tatchell said today.
"The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder."
"According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule."
A London protest has been organised next month outside the capital?s Iranian embassy.
The protest will take place on 11th August between 1-2pm. Those who cannot attend are being urged to email and phone the Iranian Ambassador.
Campaigners across the globe may well join the protest, after action was taken globally on the hangings.
In the UK, the government was criticised for attempting to forge closer links with the Iranian government, while in other European countries gay groups called for an update to asylum legislation regarding lesbian and gay people fleeing conservative regimes.
In the US, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was urged to publicly denounce the killings.
'No to the assassins of the gay' - Reuters' Photos
|| News ||
July 29, 2005
Connecticut gay couples continue push for marriage rights
Connecticut's decision to legalize same-sex civil unions is the basis for a lawsuit that seeks to force the state to allow full marriage rights for gay couples. Lawmakers legalized civil unions earlier this year, granting gay and lesbian couples the same legal rights as married couples but denying them the ability to wed.
Eight couples argue in a brief filed Thursday in New Haven superior court that if the state is willing to grant same-sex couples all the legal rights and privileges of marriage, it has no reason to bar them from actually marrying. "The civil union law undercuts any rationale the state ever could have had for denying marriage," said Ben Klein, a senior attorney with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. The group successfully challenged marriage laws in Massachusetts, which now allows same-sex couples to marry.
The eight couples sued the state Department of Public Health and the town of Madison after they were denied marriage licenses there last year. They claim their rights to equality and liberty under the state constitution have been violated because they can't marry, and they say they will use the debate over civil unions to bolster that claim. "The reality is that civil unions are not equal," Klein said. "Marriage is a unique legal and cultural institution. It has no substitute. It has no equivalent."
State attorney general Richard Blumenthal, who is defending the Department of Public Health in the lawsuit, said in a statement that he will respond to the couples' brief after his office has had a chance to review it. "The civil union law will not assist the challenge in the way the plaintiffs contend," Blumenthal said. "The state has the right and authority to define marriage, as it has done, consistent with state and federal constitutions, and the civil union law does not undermine the state's ability to do so."
The law that created civil unions also defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, which opposes same-sex marriage, said his group had predicted that proponents would use civil unions as a springboard for a court push. "Any legislator who voted for civil unions thinking it was going to stop there was dead wrong," he said. "The normal means of foisting same-sex marriage on the public in America isn't through a vote, isn't through the normal channels of democracy. It's through the court."
Connecticut was the first state to voluntarily provide far-reaching legal benefits to same-sex couples. Vermont recognizes civil unions, and Massachusetts has same-sex marriage, but those laws were enacted only after court fights. Several of the couples involved in the Connecticut lawsuit said Thursday that they do not intend to enter into civil unions when they become legal on October 1. "We really believe marriage best reflects what we've had together. We have a deep love and commitment, and civil unions don't reflect that," said Janet Peck of Colchester. She and her partner, Carol Conklin, will celebrate their 30th anniversary later this year. "Civil unions just kind of feel like you're not good enough," Conklin added.
Other couples, such as Jeffrey Busch and Stephen Davis of Wilton, will apply for a civil union, albeit reluctantly. They feel they cannot pass up the legal protections the arrangement will provide—such as the right to sue for wrongful death and the ability to file taxes jointly—but they do not plan a celebration. "Civil unions are humiliating. We're embarrassed by it," Busch said. "We will in essence be agreeing to be officially marginalized. I'm very hopeful that is a temporary step on our way to being considered a full family deserving the same respect as other families." (AP)
社説：人権擁護法 救済の法律は必要だ (朝日 2005/07/28)
社説：人権擁護法案 危うさはらむ法規制はご免だ (毎日 2005/07/27朝刊)
社説：［人権擁護法案］「やはり一から作り直すべきだ」 (読売 2005/07/25朝刊)
民主、人権擁護法案の対案提出の方針 (TBS 2005/07/30)
自民・古賀氏が安倍氏を批判 (日本経済 2005/07/28)
人権擁護などの重要法案「郵政」で後回し 審議時間確保できず (北海道新聞 2005/07/26)
中大読売リレー講座詳報 第４回「ＤＶ～暴力の悪循環を断つ…」 (読売・多摩版 2005/07/29朝刊)
Home > News & Policies > Press Secretary Briefings
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 28, 2005
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
James S. Brady Briefing Room
12:40 P.M. EDT
Q Scott, a two-part. Does the President agree with Judge Roberts' 2003 statement that Roe v. Wade is, "the subtle law of the land?" Or does he hope Judge Roberts, once on the Supreme Court, might vote against this three-decade long Court precedent?
MR. McCLELLAN: You know, Les, the President doesn't have a litmus test when it comes to our courts. The President has made that very clear. He has never had a litmus test for appointing people to the bench. What the President believes is important is that we have judges serving that are committed to interpreting our Constitution and our laws and not trying to legislate from the bench. Judge Roberts meets that criteria, Judge Roberts has talked about how ideology and personal views shouldn't be getting in the way of the Judge making an impartial and open-minded and fair decision based on the law and based on the facts. He's talked about that in his previous testimony.
Q Can I follow up to that, Scott?
Q We are just two weeks away from the 60th anniversary of the surrender of Imperial Japan. The Washington Times reports in detail this morning on the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which has been likened by some historians to a Berlin shrine to Nazi Germany. And my question, does the President believe it would be wise and just, on August the 15th, for Prime Minister Koizumi not to honor Hideki Tojo and 13 other hanged war criminals, or should we just try to forget about the Bataan Death March?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I think there are some -- certainly some sensitivities in the region relating to this issue. I'm not going to comment on it from here. The President has a good relationship with Prime Minister Koizumi, and he appreciates his friendship.
Q Doesn't he think he ought to not get involved with these Japanese war criminals?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just told you, I'm not -- I'm just not going to get into commenting on it from here.
AFP - Sun Jul 3, 4:15 PM ET
Japanese drag queens perform at a club party 'Insert' as a part of cultural progarm of the 7th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Kobe. Some 700 people including participants of the ICCAP attended an over-night party with gay, lesbian and trans-sexual performers.(AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi)