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Statement by IGLHRC

in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF, 23/07/2005

Reported Executions in Iran

ILGA publishes press releases and statements as submitted by its members. Conflicting information has been circulated around this information: it is argued the two boys were hung for having raped a 13 years old boy. The main French LGBT-community magazine "Têtu" has reported that according to the lawyer of the two Iranian boys recently executed in Iran, the boys did not know that homosexual relations and alcohol consumption were illegal. "Homosexuality is a crime in Iran, but the death penalty is usually reserved for cases of rape, armed robbery, adultery, drug trafficking, and renouncing Islam." A third boy, 13 years old, who was with them, was not prosecuted because Iranian law does not consider that a person of that age can consent to sexual acts. This means that any type of sexual contact with a 13 year old is considered rape, and it is for this reason that the two boys were executed.

"The judiciary has trampled its own laws," one of the boys' lawyer, Rohollah Razez Zadeh, was quoted as saying to Irin (a UN news agency), explaining that Iranian courts were supposed to commute death sentences handed to children to five years in jail, but the country's Supreme Court allowed the hangings to proceed.

On this case, apart from this interview below, please also read the statement from other ILGA members IGLHRC, Outrage and COC.

Statement by IGLHRC

July 22, 2005
Conflicting stories about the public execution by hanging of two young men in Mashhad, Iran on July 19, 2005 have been circulating this week.

IGLHRC has been very closely monitoring this story and actively
seeking confirmation of the precise facts. It is not clear, for
instance, whether the men were executed specifically for homosexual acts or for sexually assaulting a 13-year old boy as stated in one report.

IGLHRC staff is working to gather accurate information from our
colleagues in order to determine the best course of action to address what would be considered serious outrageous violations of the basic human right to life. Although the reports have been conflicting about the precise nature of both the crimes of and charges against the two young men, IGLHRC condemns the use of the death penalty in general, but particularly in the context of sexuality-related crimes the death penalty is completely disproportionate to the crime committed.

In Iran, homosexual acts are punishable by death. Under article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, however, death sentences may be imposed only for the most serious crimes, which clearly excludes any consensual sexual relationship. According to Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC Executive Director, while IGLHRC stands opposed to the death penalty in all cases as contrary to international human rights standards, the disproportionate punishment imposed on sex crimes makes these cases even more egregious from a human rights perspective. In addition, public executions for any crime constitute a violation of the right to be free from cruel and inhuman treatment.

Also, the UN Expert on Extrajudicial Killings, Philip Alston, has
recently maintained in a similar case that, "Sodomy cannot be
considered one of the most serious crimes for which, under
international law, the death penalty can be prescribed," he said. The punishment is wholly disproportionate."

Please continue to check www.iglhrc.org for updates on this case.
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Paula L. Ettelbrick
Executive Director
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
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