A Gay Iranian Activist Needs Your Help
April 17, 2007
This is an urgent appeal on behalf of a courageous Iranian gay activist who
was deported from Turkey back to Iran two weeks ago.
For security reasons, we will call this activist Babak. He is 27-years-old,
and has been working as a translator/writer for Cheraq, the Iranian Queer
Organization' s (IRQO) on-line monthly magazine for the past year. He is a gay
writer and blogger who actively pursued queer rights through his insightful
After receiving threats from under-cover Iranian police, Babak fled Iran
and went to Turkey , where he was arrested by police for lack of documents.
Arsham Parsi, Executive Director of the IRQO, who was in Turkey presenting a
report on queer Iranian asylum seekers, contacted the United Nations High
Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and informed them of Babak's case. The UNHCR
office called theTurkish police, and requested that Babak be released and
allowed to file a claim for refugee status. Unfortunately, he was instead
deported to Iran , where he was jailed, beaten and tortured. After being
released on bail, Babak was forced into hiding. He presently has contact with
only one person and has no access to internet or phone services. It is
critical that he be smuggled out of Iran before his trial.
Babak was born in Iran and sent to Bahrain as a child labourer. He returned
to Iran a young man with a cause. Fluent in both Arabic and Farsi, he is a
precious resource. He translated and wrote tirelessly for the LGBTQ community
in Arabic and Farsi newspapers. His research in Persian and Arab classic
literature yielded strong evidence of gay men's long history in both nations.
This research endows gay Iranian men with a positive, legitimate identity, and
contradicts the government's claim that homosexuality is a disease imported
from the West to attack Persian social values.
The LGBTQ family is a global family. Our mandate is to help out members of
this family who are in desperate need – particularly individual activists
like Babak and Mani, who have been persecuted for the way they love and for
the crime of defending the rights of our brothers and sisters. We at the IRQO
have scarcely any financial resources, as we do not charge membership dues. We
have sent Babak a few paltry dollars, but our treasury is bare. Please
consider making an urgently needed donation to the IRQO to help Babak flee
persecution. Your donation will also help support other queer
Iranian refugees, who are residing in Turkey until they are granted official
refugee status by the UNHCR and find asylum in a gay-friendly country.
Even $10 or $20 would be enormously helpful. You
can help them now by clicking on the "Donate" button on our website
at http://www.irqo. net and using your credit
card via the secure PayPal system. Or, you can mail a cheque, made payable to
Arsham Parsi and send it to:
41 Waddington Cr.
Thank you for supporting Iran 's persecuted gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and
transgender people. Financial assistance is urgently needed to get Babak
safely out of hiding and into Turkey . Please show your support by donating.
IRanian Queer Organization – IRQO
Formerly Persian Gay & Lesbian Organization – PGLO
info [at] irqo [dot] net