Iran police have arrested, attacked and physically beaten more than 30 gay men in a raid of a private party.
Authorities fired their guns while seizing the men in the Esfahan province, the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR) reported.
‘IRQR received several reports in the last few days and we were able to confirm that police attacked guests and physically beat them,’ the human rights NGO said.
‘Police detained the men, ages 16 to 30, at the Basij [Revolutionary Guard Militia] Station and then transferred them to Esfahan’s Dastgerd Prison.
‘A few people managed to escape and we received reports that there were several heterosexual individuals among those arrested.’
They added: ‘After a few days, all the families were informed by Basij that their sons were arrested for sodomy.
‘A special prosecutor has been assigned to their cases and they were charged with sodomy, drinking alcohol and using psychedelic drugs.
‘It was reported that prisoners will be sent to Esfahan’s Medical Jurisprudence Department for anal examination in order to provide evidence of homosexual acts to the court.’
‘Anal examination’ is in reference to an act deemed to be torture by human rights groups. These ‘probes’ involve examining someone’s anus to see if they had been penetrated, check for traces of sperm and taking a picture to ‘study’ the shape of the hole. If it is wider, the more ‘likely’ the person has engaged in gay sex, according to the widely discredited 19th century test.
Forbidden under international law, they are widely known across Africa as the ‘tests of shame’.
The IRQR added: ‘This unfortunate event has created chaos among the LGBT community in Esfahan since prisoners were forced to write down full names of all their LGBT friends and acquaintances. IRQR is deeply concerned about this situation since Iran has a well-documented history of persecuting homosexuals.’
Homosexuality in Iran is punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or by execution.