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Four Iranian Men to be Executed for Sodomy

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday May 17, 2012

Four men from Choram, Iran, (located in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province) have been sentenced to death for sodomy, the British newspaper Pink News reported.

According to a report by the Human Rights Activist News Agency in Iran, an Iranian court ruled that Saadat Arefi, Vahid Akbari, Javid Akbari and Houshmand Akbari will be hanged for sodomy.

"Although being gay is not a crime based on Iranian criminal law but this is the most clear statement against same sex-acts in past months," a gay activist in Iran said. "There were four other men hanged in past five months," he added.

LGBT activists around the world are outraged by the convictions, including a London based Iranian human rights lawyer, Mehri Jafari.

"I am horrified and saddened to have heard the news about these four men," he said. "Not only with regards to the execution that is about to take place, but the fact that is beyond our control."

"Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad is one of the most undeveloped provinces in Iran and it is obvious that a lack of access to lawyers and fair trial can be considered a serious issue in this case," Jafari continued. "After this announcement it is very likely that the execution will be carried out soon, and the remote location makes it difficult to exert any influence on the process."

Gorji Marzban, a chairperson of the Austrian-based Oriental Queen Organization said that the ruling was shocking and that it "demonstrates the discrepancy between Western and Islamic perception of queer life."

"The death penalty has failed to eradicate homosexuality from Iran but it was successful to force queer people into the closets," he said. "Sooner or later any Islamic community is obliged to integrate queer people."

The men's sentencing coincides with the launch of the "LGBT Republic of Iran," - "a pioneering report that documents the experiences of a diverse range of LGBT Iranians who live, or have lived, under the repressive, homophobic Tehran regime - and the importance of the internet to their lives, as a means to meet, support each other, learn about LGBT life in the outside world and evade the censorship of their government," a statement from the Peter Tachell Foundation reads.

The statement also says that the LGBT Republic of Iran finds that gay Iranian citizens are often harassed by the public and by the state. Several of them have been physically assaulted, arrested and even sentenced to death just because of their sexual orientation.

The statement also quotes LGBT Iranians who voiced their views on the country's stance on gays.

"As a lesbian who lived in Iran for more than a year, I know first-hand how oppressive Iranian society and the regime can be. This research report was a passion project for me," Bronwen Robertson, director of Operation for Small Media, said in the statement.

"If I said I saw myself as being part of this society, I'd be telling the biggest lie of my life. I don't see myself as part of this society at all," Bandar Anzali, a gay 26-year-old said. "That's because of my homosexuality and the Iranian people's mentality about homosexuality ... I usually refer to Iran as 'your country' instead of 'my country' or 'our country.'"

In September 2011 three Iranian men were executed for being gay. The men were hanged and put to death for engaging in gay sex. The men were allegedly put to death along with other men who were convicted of rape, robbery and drug trafficking.

Under Iran's Sharia law (the moral code and religious law of Islam) men who perform same-sex acts can be sentenced to death while women will be sentenced to "a lashing." Iranian citizens are allowed to undergo sex reassignment surgery and the Iranian government has recognized transsexuals since the mid-'80s.

Comments

  • , 2012-05-17 15:17:23

    So horrible! In solidarity with the men who were killed, I believe this years gay pride should honor gays in Iran as when one gay person is persecuted for being gay, all gays are persecuted.


  • , 2012-05-26 18:56:42

    satan is alive and well. where is god?


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