According to the Iranian Queer Organization, IRQO (formerly Persian Gay & Lesbian Organization â€“ PGLO), 80 members of the Iranian gay community have been arrested by the security personnel in Isfahan. On May 10, close to 10 pm, security forces raided the birthday party of a man named Farhad, and brutally assaulted the host, his parents, and all the guests. Everyone at the party was arrested on the spot.
Reports stated that police used batons to beat those arrested before taking them into custody. Farhadâ€™s family, who were present at the party, have also been arrested. The first report put the number of those arrested at 80; yet more recent reports have raised the number to 87.
â€śI went to buy a gift for Farhad and so I arrived late for the party,â€ť said Peyman, a friend of Farhad, in a phone call. â€śAs soon as I turned in to their street, I saw police cars parked everywhere; all my friends were arrested while seven or eight policeman beat them with batons.â€ť Fearing the usual punishments for attending a party, two had jumped from the second-floor window and were in a bad condition. â€śFarhadâ€™s family were also arrested,â€ť said Peyman. â€śEveryone was transported into a big car and taken into custody. All their cell phones are off and we have no information about the situation inside the jail.â€ť
In another phone call, Kia reported: â€śGuests had come from Shiraz, Tehran, Shahin Shahr to Isfahan for Farhadâ€™s birthday. When they were coming out of the house followed by the police, their clothes were ripped, their faces and bodies were covered in blood. They were beaten up badly.â€ť
According to reports, the next morning all those arrested were taken to court, and later to the jail. The court is not permitting the families of those arrested to visit their children, and is not accepting bail for their temporary release.
â€śA few girls were among the guests and were also arrested but were released the next day,â€ť Farzin said. â€śAll the gay men at the party are now in jail. I am extremely worried for their well being and I fear that those of us who were not in the party, will be arrested next.â€ť
On Sunday May 13, they also received news that the arrestees were under severe torture and in bad condition in the jail in Isfahan. Reports say their lives are in danger. â€śWe suspect that preventing family visits is partly due to the physical conditions and also part of their torture,â€ť said an anonymous source. â€śWe ask for prompt request for their release as any day might be too late.
Such arrests in the past had resulted in wider arrests and naming names, which has created disasters in the years before.â€ť This news was reported by colleagues in Shiraz and Isfahan. They say they have received many emails of concern about the well being of those arrested.
Further information will be posted on the IRQO website.