Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Tag

Indonesia publicly canes gay men: Video

Video: Gay couple publicly caned under Indonesian region’s Sharia law.

Bangladesh arrests 27 men on suspicion of being gay

By the Associated Press

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Authorities in Bangladesh on Friday arrested 27 men on suspicion of being gay, a criminal offense in the Muslim-majority country, and plan to charge them with drug possession, an official said Friday.

A commander of the Rapid Action Battalion, an elite police unit that made the arrests, said the suspects, mostly students aged 20-30 years, had traveled from across the country and were picked up in a raid on a community center at Keraniganj, outside the nation’s capital, early Friday.

Zahangir Hossain Matobbar said they recovered illegal drugs and condoms in their possession and plan to charge them with drug offenses and not homosexuality because they were detained before they engaged in sex.

The agency also arrested the owner of the community center where the suspects used to gather every two months and stay overnight for partying.

Last year, suspected militants killed a leading LGBT activist and his friend in Dhaka.

The 35-year-old Xulhaz Mannan, a USAID official, was hacked to death in April last year at his home. He had founded the country’s only LGBT magazine Roopbaan and was a leading organizer of gays, who are ostracized in Bangladesh.

Since then, many of the gays and lesbians have left the country after they received death threats. Many still live double lives to avoid reprisals.

Homosexuality is a crime in Bangladesh under a law dating back to the British colonial rule, and it has never been amended. The law is rarely enforced.

Indonesia barbarically sentences two gay men to 85 lashes each

A Sharia court in Indonesia’s Aceh province has sentenced two men to be caned in public for having gay sex.

The men were found guilty of violating strict Islamic laws in conservative Aceh and will receive 85 lashes each.

The pair, aged 20 and 23, were found in bed together by vigilantes in March. They have not been identified.

Gay sex is not illegal in the rest of Muslim-majority Indonesia and this is its first such conviction. Aceh is the only province where Sharia is in force.

The sentence is due to be carried out next week.

Labour of love: One man’s fight for gay marriage in Taiwan

Amber Wang writes:

Taipei (AFP) – For Chi Chia-wei the imminent court decision that could make Taiwan the first place in Asia to recognise gay marriage is his greatest shot at justice after decades of tireless campaigning.

“It’s been so long, my hair has gone grey!” says 59-year-old Chia, who often appears in public draped in rainbow flags.

The celebrated activist, who has led the island’s gay rights movement for nearly 30 years, will know on May 24 whether his battle for marriage equality has been won when Taiwan’s constitutional court rules on his latest petition.

At the centre of the case is a clause in Taiwan’s Civil Code which says an agreement to marry should be made between a man and a woman.

Chi wants the court to rule on whether that part of the Civil Code contravenes elements in Taiwan’s constitution which guarantee equality and freedom of marriage.

The decision is binding, so a ruling in his favour would pave the way for same-sex unions to be legalised.

Chi says he is optimistic, but his excitement is tempered by the length of time it has taken to get this far.

“This should have happened long ago. It’s belated justice,” he told AFP.

Chi is one of two petitioners bringing the case.

The other is the Taipei City government which is seeking clarification as authorities in Taiwan have been rejecting applications for same-sex marriages based on the Civil Code clause.

Chi says this time there is much more public momentum for change — in December, a pro-gay marriage rally drew 250,000 people according to organisers.

“It was just a one-man campaign when I started — now I have 250,000 people beside me. I am not alone in doing what is right,” Chi said.

– ‘One right thing’ –

Raised by liberal-minded parents supportive of his sexual orientation, they encouraged him to fight for his beliefs.

He came out to friends at high school and says he was surprised by how accepting they were.

After starting out as a rights activist for HIV and AIDS sufferers, Chi became a full-time advocate for gay rights after meeting his partner 29 years ago.

But while he may have had support from his family and peers, outspoken Chi has had numerous run-ins with authorities.

In 1986, when Taiwan was still under martial law, Chi says he was imprisoned for five months after submitting his first petition asking for gay marriage to be recognised.

The charges linked him with a robbery and were entirely fabricated, he says.

Since then his appeals for a change in the marriage law have been rejected by government agencies and courts, including a failed petition to the constitutional court in 2001.

Locked up: How lesbian couple ended up in a Turkish jail

Jimena Rico and Shaza Ismail are back in Spain after a three-week ordeal

James Badcock writes:

Less than a month ago, Spaniard Jimena Rico, and Egyptian-born Shaza Ismail were just like any other young, gay couple in London, the city where their romance blossomed.

But after a call from Ms Ismail’s father, the two set out on on a trip which they say involved death threats, escape across international borders, and a spell in a Turkish jail where, Ms Ismail says, the treatment was “unexpected, inhumane and horrible”.

‘Tricked’

Safe in Ms Rico’s Spanish hometown of Torrox, the couple faced the cameras to reveal a nightmarish three-week ordeal which, according to Ms Rico, began after her partner’s family in Dubai had tried to separate them by force.

“I really want to tell our story because I think it could help many people who live in a situation of repression for being homosexual,” Ms Rico told reporters who had gathered in the room to hear their story.

It had all started innocently enough. According to the 28-year-old, the couple flew from London to Dubai on 14 April because Ms Ismail’s father had said that her mother was ill in hospital.

“But it was a trick,” said Jimena Rico. “He threatened to kill us and said we could go to jail for being lesbians.”