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Iran - more bad news
From the Gay City News website
Quote: "Ten young Iranian men, including eight teenagers, are currently awaiting execution for sodomy, and two more are being re-tried on the same capital charge...

... Nemat Safavi, now 19, was arrested in June 2006 at age 16 for alleged sodomy, and the Criminal Court in Ardebil sentenced him to death. But the Supreme Court overturned his sentence on March 4, 2009, and sent the case to another criminal court in Ardebil for retrial. Saeed Jalalifar, a member of CHRR who recently obtained a lawyer for Safavi, was arrested on November 30 and is still in prison.

Gay City News spoke by telephone through a translator with that lawyer, 32-year-old Masomeh Tahmasebi. She said she had been denied the files relating to Safavi’s death sentence and would only learn more about the case when she traveled next week to meet with him in Ardebil, a northwest frontier province whose former governor is President Ahmadinejad and whose population is largely made up of ethnic Azeris, who are racially persecuted by the Islamic Republic.

Tahmasebi explained that it was often very difficult for defendants in sodomy cases to find competent lawyers. “Because of the social stigma attached to sodomy cases, many lawyers are not willing to take on such cases because of fears of accusations that they might be gay themselves,” she told Gay City News. “And because of this same social shame, families often do not contact lawyers to defend the accused, so as a last resort the court assigns a lawyer pro bono, who often does not get the case until the day of the trial. So most of these sodomy cases are badly defended.”

That means, Thamasebi added, that “the only real chance left for the defendant is international human rights pressure and protest against the application of the death penalty — but often this occurs so late that the window of opportunity to prevent these executions is very small.”

In recent weeks, the Ahmadinejad regime has increased its monitoring and disruption of Internet and telephone communications in an attempt to stifle opposition and criticism, and this reporter chillingly experienced this first-hand while interviewing the two Iranians quoted here. During the interview with Thamasebi, when Ahmadinejad’s name was mentioned, the communication was abruptly terminated in mid-sentence. And in the interview with Misaghi, when the question of organizing to repeal the death penalty for sodomy was brought up, the communication was similarly cut off quite suddenly."
Naturally evidence is hard to come by and Iranian law allows for the unknown evidence to be compensated for by some mysterious process known as "the knowledge of the judge".

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