Holland Freezes Gay Extraditions to Iran
July 31, 2005
By Malcolm Thornberry, European Bureau Chief
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 “guilty
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
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.
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.
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