- 22-year-old Emmanuel Ndyanabo was chased out of his native Uganda this month for trying to attend the Toronto conference. Ndyanabo is gay, and being gay in Uganda is a crime punishable by life in prison. He has already been arrested for running a counselling service in his native country for HIV-positive homosexuals. He has applied for refugee status in Canada. (source: The Globe and Mail, Aug. 15)
- In Iran, homosexual acts between men are illegal and punishable by death. Iranian activist Arsham Parsi, who worked secretly in Iran for four years helping homosexuals who had been beaten and tortured, was tipped off that the secret police were about to arrest him. He escaped to Turkey and now lives in Toronto. "I cannot return to Iran", he said, "even though my family is still there. Homosexuality is forbidden and if I went back I would be arrested at the airport or border and in a couple days they would kill me." (source: Xtra - Aug. 3)
- July 19 marked the one-year anniversary of the execution of two teenaged Iranian boys - Ayaz Marhoni, 18, and Mahmoud Asgari, 17, for allegedly sexually assaulting another male teenager. The trial was held in secret and the Iranian government will not release documents relating to the case. Iran is a signatory of the UN children's rights declaration which prohibits the use of the death penalty for persons under the age of 18. (source: Xtra, Aug. 3)
By the way, in case anyone is interested in organizing a little media event to draw attention to these two countries and their appalling human rights records regarding homosexuals instead of worrying about whether or not Harper is schmoozing with Bill Clinton, here are the addresses:
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran - 245 Metcalfe St., Ottawa
Ugandan High Commission - 231 Cobourg St,. Ottawa
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?