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July 21, 2005

IRAN EXECUTES 2 GAY TEENAGERS (updated)

Update August 14: While the following post is a bit dated, it is still relevant. However, subsequent information received from Iran since the post below was written indicates that the charge of "rape" against the two teens was entirely trumped up by the religious authorities who control the legal system and has no basis in fact. Moreover, we have received word of two more hangings of a gay couple scheduled in Iran for August 28. So, to be up-to-date on where this story stands, make sure you check out the update links at the end of this post, as well as my latest post on the two new scheduled executions of gays in Iran. And watch this blog for continuing coverage of the new wave of anti-gay repression in Iran, as we are continuing to work this story from Iranian sources and will be posting more news from Iran as reliable information is received and confirmed.

. Two gay Iranian teenagers -- one 18, the other believed to be 16 or 17, were executed this week for the "crime" of homosexuality, Irangay_teens the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported on July 19. (The ISNA report is in Farsi, and was translated into English by the British gay rights group OutRage!, which released its report today--ISNA also provided the terrifying photos of the teens' last moments you see on this page. You can see an enlarged version of each photo by left-clicking on them) The two youths -- identified only by their initials as M.A. and A.M., were hanged on July 19 in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran, on the orders of Court No. 19. The hanging of the teens was also reported by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

And the website Iran Focus not only confirms the story but provides more details, reporting that "Members of Iran’s parliament from the north-eastern city of Mashad, where a minor and an 18-year-old man were publicly hanged yesterday, vented their anger on Wednesday on foreign and domestic news outlets for reporting the ages of hanged prisoners...Ultra-conservative deputy Ali Asgari said that the two deserved to be hanged in public, adding, 'Whatever sentence is decreed by an Islamic penal system must be approved, unless proven otherwise.' Asgari complained of foreign and domestic reporting that the two were mere boys. 'Instead of paying tribute to the action of the judiciary, the media are mentioning the age of the hanged criminals and creating a commotion that harms the interests of the state,' the member of the Majlis Legal Affairs Committee said. 'Even if certain websites made a reference to their age, journalists should not pursue this. These individuals were corrupt. Their sentence was carried out with the approval of the judiciary and it served them right.' "

Consensual gay sex in any form is punishable by death in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the website Age of Consent, which monitors such laws around the world, in Iran "Homosexuality is illegal, those charged with love-making Irangay_teens_2 are given a choice of four deathstyles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch. According to Article 152, if two men not related by blood are discovered naked under one cover without good reason, both will be punished at a judge's discretion. Gay teens (Article 144) are also punished at a judge's discretion. Rubbing one's penis between the thighs without penetration (tafheed) shall be punished by 100 lashes for each offender. This act, known to the English-speaking world as 'frottage,' is punishable by death if the 'offender' is a non-Muslim. If frottage is thrice repeated and penalty-lashes have failed to stop such repetitions, upon the fourth 'offense' both men will be put to death. According to Article 156, a person who repents and  confesses his gay behavior prior to his identification by four witnesses, may be pardoned. Even kissing 'with lust' (Article 155) is forbidden. This bizarre law works to eliminate old Persian male-bonding customs, including common kissing and holding hands in public." And Outrage, in its release about the gay teens' execution, noted that, "according to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. Last August, a 16-year-old girl , [Atefeh Rajabi] was hanged [in the Caspian port of Neka] for 'acts incompatible with chastity,' [i.e., sex before marriage]."

In the case of the two teens hanged in Mashhad, Irangay_teens_3 "They admitted having gay sex (probably under torture) but claimed in their defense that most young boys had sex with each other and tdhat they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death," according to the ISNA report as translated by OutRage. "Prior to their execution, the gay teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes. The length of their detention suggests that they committed the so-called offenses more  than a year earlier, when they were possibly around the age of 16."

"Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the younger of the two boys, had appealed that he was too young to be executed and that the court should take into account his tender age (believed to be 16 or 17). But the Supreme Court in Tehran Ordered him to be hanged." As a state party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were under the age of 18 -- which means that by hanging the two youths Iran is in violation of international law.The Iranian authorities are putting out a cover story that the two boys had participated in the rape of a 13-year-old, but OutRage affirms from its sources that this accusation is a smokescreen for inhuman conduct and is without foundation. However, the Murdoch press (e.g., the Times of London) is putting about the Iranian government's story as a virtual statement of fact. But there is no mention of this Iranian government accusation in the original ISNA report, otherwise quite detailed.-- which rather suggests it's a recent invention. Furthermore, it is hardly surprising that, at the very moment at which Iran is engaged in the most delicate negotiation with the Western powers over nuclear materials -- the outcome of which will have a profound impact on the Iranian economy --the Iranian government, when caught in a heinous act of barbarity that is also a violation of Iran's commitments under international law -- should try to find a new excuse for the inexcusable. (Make sure to read the latest updates since this post was written, which indicate to a near certainty that the "rape" charge was fictitious and invented by the religious authorities -- see update links below).

Left-click on the third photo above and look at the enlarged version, which shows the younger of the two adolescents weeping as he's carried off in a police van to the end of his young life. Then, if you would like to protest the barbaric hanging of these two lads to whom nature gave same-sex hearts, follow the suggestion of the Human Rights Campaign which -- citing this blog -- has written to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice demanding that she formally protest these executions, which you should do as well. If you want to protest directly to the Iranian government, be aware that, while the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Iran, there is an Iranian embassy in Canada. You may write, telephone, or fax the Iranian ambassador in Canada:Ambassador Seyed Mouhammad Ali Moosavi, Embassy of Iran, 245 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, Ontario .K2P 2K2 Canada Telephone (OO1-613- 235-4726, 233-4726; Fax, 233-5712

UPDATE JULY 27: For a commentary on the controversy over the hangings and the "rape" charge since the above was published, see my article for the Gay City News, which you can read by clicking here. UPDATE AUGUST 11: New reports from inside Iran and inside Mashad, where the boys were executed, strongly challenge the validity of the charge of "rape" for which the Iranian government claims the boys were hanged, and it is now virtually certain that the "rape" charge was invented by the religious authorities who control the legal system -- to read about these new reports from inside Iran, see the article I wrote for Gay City News -- the largest gay weekly in New York City --  by clicking here.  Furthermore, as the new wave of anti-gay repression in Iran snowballs, we have received reports of two new Iranian executions of gays which are scheduled to take place in the city of Arak on August 28. For news of these new death sentences for homosexuality in Iran, click here. UPDATE AUGUST 17: For the Latest from Inside Iran as the Pace of the Deadly Anti-Gay Crackdown Steps Up, click here.

Posted by Direland at 08:20 AM | Permalink

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Comments

The earliest writers on a homosexual orientation usually understood it to be intrinsically linked to the subject's own sex. For example, it was thought that a typical female-bodied person who is attracted to female-bodied persons would have masculine attributes, and vice versa.This understanding was shared by most of the significant theorists of homosexuality from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, such as Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Magnus Hirschfeld, Havelock Ellis, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, as well as many gender variant homosexual people themselves. However, this understanding of homosexuality as sexual inversion was disputed at the time, and through the second half of the 20th century, gender identity came to be increasingly seen as a phenomenon distinct from sexual orientation.

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