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gay men stoned to death in Iran
Iranian men to be stoned to death over gay sex

in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF, 31/01/2011

(Paul Canning, 18 January 2011, 5:26pm) - Two young men who filmed themselves having sex with a 17-year-old have been sentenced to death by stoning in Iran.

The film was discovered on the mobile phones of Ayub and Mosleh, 20 and 21 years old, by agents of the Iranian regime in the Kurdistan city of Piranshahr in northwest Iran. It has been claimed that the video included them having sex with a third, 17-year-old who told religious police that the pair raped him in exchange for sparing his own life.

The pair’s full names have not been released.

Pictures of President Ahmadinejad and a headshot of Supreme Leader Khamenei pasted over a donkey were allegedly incorporated into the film.

Reports say that the young men’s stoning was immediately ordered for this Friday “to instill fear in the people of Iran”.

News of the sentence originates from a Kurdish newspaper and has been distributed by the International Committee Against Stoning, which launched the worldwide campaign against the stoning of Sakineh Ashtiani for adultery.

It has since been confirmed by other sources.

Iranian LGBT activists and human rights organisations have reported a number of other death sentences for homosexuality in the past two years. However the Iranian government maintains that “most of these individuals have been charged for forcible sodomy or rape”.

The original newspaper report claimed that the boys raped another.

Soheila Vahdati, an independent human rights defender for Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Iranian Queer Organisation based in San Francisco, said: “They don’t differentiate between rape and homosexual acts. As well, there is a culture of shame. The families won’t defend their loved ones from this brutal punishment.”

“We are very concerned even though we haven’t got all the details,” she added. “We’ll try to save their lives but unfortunately Iran has quickly executed people in the past.”

Judges order execution by stoning under a 1983 law detailing offences proscribed by God, and then under the general Islamic penal code. Some senior Shia clerics have spoken out against stoning.

The International Committee Against Stoning has urged “the young people of Piranshahr to hasten to the aid of Ayub and Mosleh and declare that they will not permit this tragedy to occur”.

The Association of British Muslims, alongside an international coalition of Muslim organisations, has condemned the sentence and says it does not see anything in the Koran to justify such punishment.

The group said: “Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, ‘…if anyone slays a human being unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth – it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind…’”

Last month Human Rights Watch published a large scale report on the repression of LGBT in Iran. It said that those charged with same-sex offences stand little chance of receiving a fair trial.

There are few reliable statistics on the frequency with which stonings take place in Iran. Recent years have seen a rising number of cases reported. Some members of parliament are reportedly hoping that the Supreme Leader will pass a fatwa against stoning.

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