After his arrest for homosexual activity, 22-year-old gay Iranian Amir says he was taken to the police station and asked to sit in a metal chair in the middle of a room. "The police put a gas flame under the chair and made me sit on it as the metal seat got hotter and hotter," he recalls. "The commander said to take a bottle and shove it up my ass while screaming, 'This will teach you not to want any more cock.'"
When Mekabiz, 21, a self-described transgender man, appeared before an Iranian judge, he was told that he was "dirtier and lower than a pig," and sentenced to 60 lashes and three months in prison. "I had never suffered so much in my life," Nekabiz says. "Every single prisoner in my section raped me--all of them. The guards just laughed. They even carved graffiti on my backside with a knife--on one side they wrote, SOUVENIR FROM VAKIL ABAD PRISON. YOU can't imagine what kind of hell I went through. I prayed for God to kill me."
Amir and Mekabiz are among the thousands of gay and transgender victims of the reactionary regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who took power a year ago on a platform of "moral cleansing." Since Ahmadinejad's election, the government has employed a thuggish para-police force known as the basiji to expose and arrest gay people.
Many of the basiji, who operate under the control of the Interior Ministry, are attractive young men who use Internet chat rooms to post their pictures and ensnare gay men. That's what happened to Amir, who recently escaped to Canada. When he showed up …