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Witness Statement: Saye Sky

8. The unassisted bond between two homosexuals takes much more time to cultivate. In Iran, you can’t simply proclaim your homosexuality to a stranger. You need to make sure that the person you’re telling is a trustworthy individual. For example, I met my college girlfriend in our physical education class. After taking some time to get to know her, I mustered the courage to ask her whether she had a boyfriend. After informing me that she did not, she asked me whether I had a boyfriend, to which I responded that I also did not. I think we both suspected we knew the reason why the other was single, but it took even more time and courtship before I finally admitted to her that I was a lesbian. This admission was very dangerous. She could have been a government agent or simply someone scared to associate with homosexuals. Thankfully, she was neither of those things and we were able to continue our courtship.

9. Due to the repercussions of coming out, homosexuals living in Iran can only associate with one another at secret underground parties. These parties are extremely risky to attend because they are targeted and sometimes raided by Iranian authorities looking to arrest homosexuals. Consequently, you might receive the invitation to such a party 5-6 hours before it is supposed to convene and might also be sent 2-3 different addresses (with nobody knowing what the correct address really is). While I was never caught at one of these parties (I hardly ever attended due to the risk), I have friends who were caught and taken to prison for their attendance.

10. Moreover, homosexuals in Iran need to be on the lookout for government agents at all times; in all walks of life. We frequently had spies attempting to infiltrate our social circles. The government sometimes instructed young people to dress in provocative clothing and go to the university to speak ill of the government, the police and the clergy. The spies would make these statements and take note of who approached them and who befriended them. The entire process was designed to gather intelligence and infiltrate the circles of opposition groups. Consequently, we were very careful about who we allowed into our closely knit social circle.

Police Harassment


11. I was detained by Iranian authorities on many different occasions.

12. In 2008, my friends and I were stopped by a police van as we walked down the street. After the van stopped, police officers piled out and forced us inside. Once inside the van, the police officers treated us roughly, scolding us about our outfits and swearing at us. One of the officers ripped my belt off and yelled, “What is this you’ve attached to yourself?” I said nothing. Fed up by their actions, my friend screamed, “You don’t have the right to speak to her that way!” The officer turned to her and struck her twice in her face. All the while, he continued to swear at us and told us that he would “do something that would make us sorry we were girls.” I do not believe they had any legitimate reason for stopping us, other than to harass us. This kind of treatment was very common in Iran.

13. Again in 2008, some college classmates and I were stopped by police officers as we walked past the police station. The officers came outside of the station and ordered us inside. I do not believe they had any legitimate reason to do this other than the fact that we were three girls and four boys walking down the street together.

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Tagged as:

LGBT, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Illegal Search and Seizure, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination