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Protest at execution of Iranian teenagers

in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF, 04/08/2005

Some reports say they were hanged for gay sex. The Iranian government claims they were hanged for the rape of a 13 year old boy. We are not prepared to give the violently homophobic Iranian government the benefit of the doubt

OUtrage! organises a protest in London, UK. Thursday 11 August, Iranian Embassy 1pm to 2pm, Embassy of Iran, 16 Prince's Gate, London SW7 (near the Royal Albert Hall, by the junction of Kensington Road and Exhibition Road)

Mahmoud Asgari (16) and Ayaz Marhoni (18) were hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in north east Iran, on 19 July 2005.

Note from ILGAOn this case, apart from this article below, please also read an interview of an Iranian LGBT activist and the statement from other ILGA members IGLHRC, Outrage and COC.

Some reports say they were hanged for gay sex. The Iranian government claims they were hanged for the rape of a 13 year old boy.

Fact: Iran executes lesbians and gays. The Iranian government has executed an estimated 4,000 LGBT people since 1979.

Fact: The Iranian government often pins false charges on the victims of its murderous policies in order to discredit them and discourage public protests.

In these circumstances, we are not prepared to give the violently homophobic Iranian government the benefit of the doubt. It has previously lied to justify public executions.

In any case, the death penalty is a disproportionate punishment. It is barbaric and should be abolished.

Email, phone, fax and write your protests to the Iranian Ambassador:

info@iran-embassy.org.uk

Tel: 020 7225 3000
Fax: 020 7589 4440

Iranian Ambassador
Embassy of Iran
16 Prince's Gate
London SW7 1PT

More info

OutRage!'s sources for this story include clandestine gay and lesbian activists inside Iran, members of the democratic and left Iranian opposition, and the websites of pro-government news agencies in Iran.

The Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran enforces Sharia law, which dictates the death penalty for gay sex: variously including hanging, stoning, beheading or dropping from a high place like a tall building or cliff-top.

The teenagers admitted to having gay sex, probably under torture, but claimed in their defence that their crime was common and they were not aware it was punishable by death.

Prior to their execution, the teenagers were held in prison for 14
months and severely beaten with 228 lashes.

Their length of detention suggests that they committed the so-called offences more than a year earlier, when Mahmoud was 15 and Ayaz was 17. In other words, both youths were minors at the time of the offence.

Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the youngest boy (16), had appealed that he was too young to be executed and that the court should take into account his tender age. He was quoted by the IRIN news agency as saying that "the judiciary had trampled on its own laws", explaining that the Iranian courts usually commute death sentences on children to five year jail.

Despite his pleas, the Supreme Court in Tehran ordered Mahmoud to be hanged.

Under the Iranian penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be hanged.

Three other young gay Iranians are being hunted by the police in
connection with the same so-called crime. They have gone into hiding and cannot be found. If caught, they will probably also face execution.

"The allegation of rape may be a trumped up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths. The Iranian regime often resorts to smears and false allegations to discredit people it has executed and to undermine human rights campaigns," said Brett Lock of the gay rights group OutRage!

"It could be that the 13 year old was a willing participant but that Iranian law (like the laws of many western nations) deems that no person aged 13 is capable of sexual consent and that therefore even consensual sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be statutory rape.

"The use of torture is routine in Iran. These two boys were violently abused in prison, receiving more than 200 lashes.

"Iran is a fascist-style tyranny based on a fundamentalist version of Islam. We join with progressive Muslims to denounce the
fundamentalists and to support democratic and left Iranians striving to topple the Ayatollahs.

"OutRage! wholeheartedly supports the struggle of the Iranian people to overthrow clerical tyranny and to secure democracy and human rights.

"Without an end to the fundamentalist regime, there can never be justice for LGBT people, women, workers and minority religions and nationalities in Iran.

"The lack of liberal and left support for the victims of the Iranian
tyranny is truly shocking. We deplore the absence of international solidarity with Iranians fighting for freedom," concluded Mr Lock.

Email this news release and photos to your friends. Urge them to
protest too.
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