Steve Ralls

Help Amnesty Fight Anti-Gay Executions in Iran

Filed By Steve Ralls | January 31, 2008 9:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Media, Politics
Tags: Amnesty International, death sentence, homophobic behavior, human rights abuses, Iran

Amnesty International is asking the public to speak out on behalf of two men convicted on charges related to sexual orientation. The sentence was condemned by the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, a Tehran-based human rights NGO whose members include Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. From the Amnesty action alert:

In May 2007, two men were tried and convicted of abduction, rape and theft. They were sentenced to being “thrown at a height” or “cliff” (partab az bolandi) by a judge in Shiraz, Fars province, southern Iran. Four other men, allegedly also involved in the crimes, were ordered to endure 100 lashes each. Both of these punishments have not yet been carried out by the Iranian authorities.

The rest of Amnesty's call to action is after the jump, along with a link so you can speak out and help.

On 2 January 2008, Qods, a national daily newspaper in Iran, reported that the sentences of the two men had been confirmed by the Supreme Court, and sent for implementation, and that four other men had been convicted by Branch 2 of the Fars Criminal Court to 100 lashes each, in connection with the same case. The six men were accused of having abducted two young men in the city of Arsanjan, to the east of Shiraz, whom they harassed and whose property they stole before allegedly raping them.

At a press conference on 15 January, Ali Reza Jamshidi, the Spokesman for the Judiciary in Iran, confirmed that the sentences had been upheld by the Supreme Court, but that they had not yet been carried out. His statement appeared to contradict the Qods article, as it suggested that the Head of the Judiciary may not yet have given final approval for the executions. All death sentences in Iran must be approved by the Head of the Judiciary before they can be carried out. He has the power to suspend the execution.

Iran’s Penal Code states in Article 109 that both men involved in same-sex penetrative (anal) or non-penetrative sex will be punished. Article 110 states that those convicted of engaging in anal sex will be executed and that the manner of execution is at the discretion of the judge. Article 111 states that both will be executed “provided both the active and passive parties are mature, sane and consenting”. There is no separate legislation dealing with rape. Article 14 of the Directive on Implementation Regulations for Sentences of Retribution in kind, Stoning, Murder, Crucifixion, Death Penalty and Flogging states that death may be carried out by hanging, firing squad, electrocution or another method determined by the judge issuing the verdict. If no other method is specified, the method will be hanging. The sentence passed in this case is exceptional in its apparent intent to inflict suffering.

The sentence was condemned by the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, a Tehran-based human rights NGO whose members include Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.

In 2007, at least 312 people, including child offenders, were executed in Iran, although the true figure may be considerably higher. Amnesty International acknowledges the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences but is unconditionally opposed to the use of the death penalty and opposes the use of flogging and other judicial corporal punishments which constitute torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

To take action, click here.

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Wait now, didn't Azerbiwhatshisname say that there were no gays in Iran? If so, then why would they have laws against them?

While the statutes they were condemned under are reprehensible and barbaric, do not lose sight of the fact that these men are rapists. They are not innocent victims of an Iranian anti-gay witch hunt. To me, rape is as bad or worse than murder, for it can destroy the spirit of the victim and lead to permanent emotional damage that will never heal.

I disagree with the severity and method of punishment, but I really do not have much sympathy for the men, nor do I see where this should become a international cause-celebre.(sp)

Thanks for the heads up! I'll be sure to help out.

One thing to consider though, diddlygrl... Most of the men executed in Iran for homosexuality were convicted of 'rape.' Because, you know, no man would actually want to have sex with other men.

Hence, no gay people. Only rapists. :(

I clicked through, Steve.


That is likely true in other cases, but this one was a robbery and rape, so I do not think that is the case here.

I do agree that the laws that they have are barbaric and prejudicial, but then it is a theocracy, where prejudice tends to run wide and deep against anything the authorities deem "sinful" or immoral. The only way that things will change over there is if the theocracy is overthrown and a truly democratic government takes over.

This is really something only the Iranians can do for themselves.