Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
ILGA Co-Secretaries General Send an Open Letter to the Iranian President in Light of the Recent Executions in Iran
Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Brussels, August 5th 2005
We would like to congratulate you for your election as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We hope that the pragmatic approach that you have taken as Mayor of Tehran continues throughout your presidency.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) is the only worldwide association of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender/Transsexual (LGBT) people. We have members in over 90 countries including in the Moslem world, and we are proud to count some Iranians among them.
The recent execution of two male teenagers in Mashad, Iran, July 19th for “drunken and disorderly behaviour, stealing a bicycle, threatening behaviour to others, and having sex with a 13 year old boy” (according to the Iranian Judiciary), focused the world’s attention on Iran. This attention is due to the fact that many human rights organisations in the West believe and claim that smears and torture against gay people are routine in Iran. Whenever the regime wants to deflect criticism, it trumps up charges of alcoholism, adultery, and rape and drug abuse against the victims of its brutality. Hence it is argued these two boys were put to death because of their sexuality, or that their sexuality was an important determining factor in the decision to condemn them to death.
ILGA does not condone having sex with minors who cannot consent. We also find the death sentence, perpetrated by states, barbaric. However this sad episode brings forward the fact that Iran continues to be one of the nine states which still punishes homosexuality with the death penalty. It is particularly unacceptable that these death sentences are carried out in the name of Islam and that the only countries in this world that still kill LGBT people are predominantly Moslem States!
As you know Mr. President, it is particularly difficult to get reliable information outside of Iran, however all our inside contacts paint the following picture in Iran for LGBT people:
1) In spite of the increasing prosecution of LGBT people in Iran starting in the early days of the revolution, there has not been any decrease in the number of LGBT people in Iran. They have just been forced to go underground, and the big cities of Iran including Tehran continue to be cities of clandestine meetings of LGBT people behind closed doors.
2) Even though in Iran it is possible for transsexuals to get sex-change operations with government approval, the barbaric practice of putting lesbians, gays and bisexuals to death continues, at least officially. The reason we do not see more executions of lesbians, gay and bisexual people is because of the difficulties of proving this so-called “crime” under Shari’a Law.
3) Many young Iranian LGBT people prefer to live abroad if they can and increasingly so there is the willingness to give political asylum to those Iranians who are prosecuted in Iran on the grounds of their sexuality.
ILGA appeals to you to end the death penalty in Iran. We particularly ask for an end to the killing of LGB people in Iran, regardless of the method used to execute them as well as an end to the practice of extracting confession under torture.
Kursad Kahramanoglu and Rosanna Flamer-Caldera
Secretaries General, ILGA