Kathmandu : In a show of solidarity, Nepal's burgeoning homosexual community is seeking international support for the release of 80 gay men arrested in Iran.
The Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal's sole gay rights organisation, has sent an appeal to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, asking for his intervention to secure the freedom of 80 men arrested by Iranian security forces in Isfahan city eight days ago.
Expressing deep concern at the crackdown in the conservative Islamic country, BDS said it had received information that the detainees had been severely tortured in Isfahan jail and were in a bad state.
"Their lives are in danger," the organisation told the top UN official. "We ask your timely intervention to secure their early release."
On May 10, Iranian security police raided a private house in Isfahan, where a birthday party was being celebrated at around 10 p.m. and reportedly began beating with batons those present there.
The host, whose name was given as Farhad, was said to be severely beaten along with his parents and guests.
Two guests, who panicked at the raid and tried to escape by jumping from the second storey, were badly injured.
Everyone in the house, including several women, was arrested though the women were released later. The guests were said to have come from Shiraz, Tehran and Shahin Shahr.
BDS says the city court has refused bail to the detainees and is not allowing their families to visit them.
Iran's gay organisation, Iranian Quuer Organisation, says the crackdown is the result of previous arrests during which detainees were forced to reveal the names of their peers.
"The pattern of brutal assault by the Iranian security forces during the arrest and at the detention centres is inhuman and unacceptable," said BDS, whose own members also face similar situations in Nepal.
"We demand not only their immediate release but also the end of such violation of gay rights and freedom from all over the world."