London protest against homosexual executions in Iran
Sent by E.K.
August 12, 2005
One hundred people protested outside the Iranian
Embassy in London Thursday, 11 August 2005 -- coinciding with
simultaneous US and European
protests against Iran's "tyrannical, homophobic, misogynistic and fundamentalist
We condemn the execution of two teenage boys
in Iran on charges involving homosexual acts. One of them was
a minor at the time of his
execution; both were minors when they committed their offences. OutRage! urges
an end to the death penalty. We express our solidarity with Iranians campaigning
for democracy and human rights," said protester Aaron Saeed, Muslim affairs
spokesperson of the LGBT human rights group
OutRage!, which coordinated today's
"The London protest was one of five simultaneous international
demonstrations. The others were in Dublin, San Francisco, Paris and Montpelier.
were against Iran's use of the death penalty and its persecution of lesbian,
gay and bisexual people."
Among the London protesters were members of
LGBT, socialist and human rights groups, and Iranian left-wingers, exiles
seekers; including an Iranian woman whose 16 year old brother was executed
and his body dragged through the streets," said Mr Saeed.
Photos of the
protest (free use, no charge): Mahmoud Asgari (16) and Ayaz Marhoni (18)
in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in north east Iran,
on 19 July 2005. Reports say the youths
were hanged for gay sex. The Iranian government claims they were hanged
for the rape
of a 13 year old boy," reports Ramzi Isalam of OutRage!
Fact: Iran executes lesbians and gays. The Iranian
executed 4,000 homosexuals since 1979, according to estimates in the
mid-1990s by the
exiled Iranian gay rights group, Homan. Fact: The Iranian government
often pins false charges on the victims of its murderous policies in
order to discredit
them and discourage
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
It is barbaric and should be abolished," added Mr Isalam.
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 government-sanctioned news agencies in
Iran, added Aaron Saeed of OutRage!
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
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
Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the youngest
boy (16), had appealed that he was too young to be executed
into account his tender age. He was quoted by the IRNA 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
hiding and cannot be found. If caught, they will probably also face
execution, said Saeed.
"The allegation of rape may
be a trumped up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths.
Iranian regime often
resorts to smears and false allegations to discredit people it has
executed and to
undermine human rights campaigns," continued OutRage! campaign
coordinator, Brett Lock.
"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
contact is automatically deemed in law to be
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
rights. "Without an end to the fundamentalist regime, there
can never be justice for LGBT people, women, trade unionists and
The lack of liberal and left support for the
victims of the Iranian tyranny is truly shocking. We deplore
of international solidarity
with Iranians fighting for freedom," concluded Mr Lock. Photos
of the protest (free use, no charge):