Persecution of Homosexuals (Iran)

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Note that this page may contain news regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, and transsexual people (LGBTT)

4,000 lesbians and gays have been executed since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Methods of execution include; beheading, chopped in two, stoning to death, burning alive, and being thrown alive from a high building

Of the Islamic states that ban lesbian and gay sex, Iran is the most zealously homophobic. Since 1980, when the fundamentalists came to power under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed, according to estimates by the exiled Iranian homosexual rights group, Homan.

In the early 1980's, for example, 70 people were executed after they attempted to set up a lesbian and gay organization. Nearly 100 homosexuals were sentenced to death in 1992 following a raid on a private party.
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Lesbians and gay men living in countries dominated by the New Dark Ages of Islamic fundamentalism cannot afford the liberal luxury of tolerating religious fanaticism. For them, the politically correct arguments about "cultural sensitivity" smack of surrender to the extremists who jeopardize their freedom and even their lives.
New Dark Ages
H. Tavakoli, The Iranian,September 20, 1999

Name, age and method of execution records for 152 individuals charged with homosexuality related offences between 1979 - 2007

» Ahmad
Execution: other execution method, October 1987, Hamedan, Iran

» Hashem

Execution: unspecified execution method, September 14, 1979, Kermanshah, Iran

» Iraj

Execution: other execution method, October 1987, Hamedan, Iran

» Mohammad

Execution: unspecified execution method, September 14, 1979, Kermanshah, Iran

» Soleiman

Execution: other execution method, October 1987, Hamedan, Iran
First 5 search results for homosexuality
Omid, the Iran Human Rights Memorial

Gay Iranian who had been persecuted because of his sexuality and had been thrown in jail, shoots and kills himself after his UK asylum appeal is denied

A gay man who feared he would be executed if he were deported to his native Iran killed himself after the British government turned down his second appeal for asylum a coroner’s inquest was told on Tuesday.

Hussein Nasseri, 26, was terrified of being returned to Iran where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death.

An inquest this week into his death was told that Nasseri entered the UK in March 2000 and claimed asylum. He told authorities that he had been persecuted because of his sexuality and had been thrown in jail when it was discovered he was gay.

Nasseri managed to escape and made his way to England.
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On June 25, last year, just days after learning he would be deported Nasseri shot himself between the eyes with an airgun modified to fire .22 caliber bullets.

The plight of gay asylum seekers has been highlighted by LGBT rights group Outrage. The group has accused the Labor government of callousness.
Gay Iranian Kills Himself After UK Asylum Appeal Denied
Peter Moore,, April 20, 2005

Iranian President in a speech at a top US university: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country"

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad skirted a question about the treatment of homosexuals in Iran on Monday, saying in a speech at a top US university that there were no gays in Iran.

"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country," Ahmadinejad said to howls and boos among the Columbia University audience.

"In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don't know who has told you that we have it," he said.
'No homosexuals in Iran': Ahmadinejad
Agence France-Presse, September 24, 2007
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeated his claim that there are no gay people in Iran, and added that perhaps CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, who asked the question, might be “in contact” with people who engage in gay sex.

In 2007, while speaking to students at Columbia University, Ahmadinejad asserted that there are no gay people in Iran.

“In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who has told you we have that,” he said in response to a student's question on the death penalty Iran imposed on gay people.

During a news briefing, Blitzer referenced Ahmadinejad's previous comments, then asked, “Could you tell us, are there homosexuals in Iran?”

“My position hasn't changed,” Ahmadinejad responded. “In Iran, homosexuality is looked down upon as an ugly deed. Perhaps there are those who engage in such activities and you may be in contact with them and more aware of them, but in Iranian society such activities, thoughts and behaviors are shameful. Therefore, these are not known elements within Iranian society. Rest assured, this is one of the ugliest behaviors in our society. It is against divine will, divine teachings of any and every faith, and it is certainly at the detriment of humans and humanity. But as the government, I cannot go in the streets and stop my population and ask them about specific orientations. So, my position is clear about that.”

Two teens held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten, are publicly executed in Edalat (Justice) Square for the crime of homosexuality

Two unidentified gay teenagers were publicly executed in Iran this week for the crime of homosexuality. According to the London Times, the youths were executed in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in north-east Iran.

Iran enforces Islamic Sharia law, which dictates the death penalty for gay sex.

Both youths were identified only by their initials, M.A. and A.M. One teen was 18 years old and the other was under 18.

They admitted – likely under torture, London-based gay human rights group Outrage! suggests – to having gay sex but claimed in their defense that most young boys had sex with each other and that they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death.

According to the London Times, the teens were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten prior to their execution.

Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the youngest boy (under 18), had appealed that he was too young to be executed and that the court should take into account his young age. But the Supreme Court in Tehran ordered him to be hanged.

Under the Iranian penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be hanged.
Iran Publicly Hangs Two Gay Teenagers
Ross von Metzke, Pink News, October 10, 2005

Two men are publicly executed in Shahid Bahonar Square for the crime of homosexuality

Iran’s execution of two men last week for homosexual conduct highlights a pattern of persecution of gay men that stands in stark violation of the rights to life and privacy, Human Rights Watch said today.

On Sunday, November 13, the semi-official Tehran daily Kayhan reported that the Iranian government publicly hung two men, Mokhtar N. (24 years old) and Ali A. (25 years old), in the Shahid Bahonar Square of the northern town of Gorgan.

The government reportedly executed the two men for the crime of "lavat." Iran’s shari`a-based penal code defines lavat as penetrative and non-penetrative sexual acts between men. Iranian law punishes all penetrative sexual acts between adult men with the death penalty. Non-penetrative sexual acts between men are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are punished with death. Sexual acts between women, which are defined differently, are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are also punished with death.
Iran: Two More Executions for Homosexual Conduct
Human Rights Watch, November 21, 2005

A man is executed for acts he (allegedly) committed at the age of 13, even though the alleged victims withdrew their accusations and reportedly stated that they had either lied previously or had been forced to “confess”

Makwan Moloudzadeh, 21, was convicted of lavat-e iqabi (anal sex) for the alleged rape of three individuals, eight years ago, when he was 13.

Under Article 49 of the Penal Code, minors - those who have not yet reached maturity (puberty) as defined by Islamic Law - are exempted from criminal responsibility. Under Article 1210 of the Civil Code, boys are deemed to reach puberty at the age of 15 lunar years (approximately 14 years and seven months), but this appears to leave open the possibility that judges may rule on a different age of maturity in individual cases. Article 113 of the Penal Code provides for up to 74 lashes in the case of a minor convicted of anal sex.

Makwan Moloudzadeh’s trial was grossly flawed. The alleged victims withdrew their accusations in the course of the trial, held in a criminal court in Kermanshah and with sessions held in Paveh, western Iran, in July 2007, and reportedly stated that they had either lied previously or had been forced to “confess.” In sentencing Makwan Moloudzadeh to death, the judge relied on his ‘knowledge’ that Makwan Moloudzadeh could be tried as an adult and that the alleged offence had been committed, as is allowed by Iranian law.

Gay men are being persecuted, tortured and coerced into undergoing sex reassignment procedures. Transsexuals are being coerced into sex/raped by their surgeons

Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand. Since the mid-1980s transgender individuals have been officially recognized by the government and allowed to undergo sex reassignment surgery with the government even providing up to half the cost for those needing financial assistance. A change to a birth certificate is also allowed.

However many transgender surgeries are actually performed on gay men who report being coerced. They and actual Iranian transgendered people report being persecuted, tortured and coerced to undergo sex reassignment procedure.

Many of those Iranians undergoing operations end up far worse off because of carelessly performed or even incomplete reassignment procedures and absent pre-surgery counseling.

Those individuals who receive psychotherapy are sometimes assaulted and abused by their therapists. There have been incidents where therapists tell their patients to have sex with them if they want to prove that they have feminine emotions. There have been other incidents where transsexuals have been raped by their surgeons. Surgeons are aware that their transsexual patients do not often have financial and/or family support so they commit the sexual violence without fear of any sanction. Often, victims cannot file a complaint with the police as police themselves commit the same sort of acts all the time.

Most transgendered individuals cannot get a job until they go through a sex-change operation and receive a new identification card. Despite the supposed government assistance, most transgendered people lack the financial means for a sex-change operation. Consequently, many of them turn to prostitution in order to earn money for the sex reassignment procedure. Prostitution brings with it, however, all types of risks and dangers from sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection to abuse, rape and murder.

18-year-old man is sentenced to death by hanging for 'sexual assault', despite his accuser admitting that he lied, and withdrawing his accusation of sexual assault

You don't even need to be gay or lesbian in Iran to be in mortal danger - a simple, unfounded accusation can be enough to see you sentenced to death. Last month, the famous Iranian human rights lawyer, Mohammad Mostafai, announced in a press release that three of his four clients were cleared of sodomy charges, but one, an 18 year old youth named Ebrahim Hamidi, was sentenced to be executed.

Hamidi was originally sentenced to death two years ago, at the age of 16, for an alleged attempted sexual assault on a male. The execution sentence was handed down by Branch 2 of the Criminal Court in East Azerbaijan province on 20 July 2008.
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Saghi Ghahraman, a CEO of the Canadian-based Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) spoke about this case. Ms. Ghahraman last week stated that: “execution is an inhumane and brutal punishment.” She added that this: “specific case which is tied, for no reason, to homosexuality”, is completely without foundation and unjust. To Ghahraman, the harsh attitudes towards homosexuality are enough to have any person, whether straight or gay, put to death. This law is not only wrong in condemning to death innocent people but damages families and severely scars whole communities. Ghahraman was deeply alarmed by the execution order for Ebrahim Hamidi. She reiterates that Hamidi is not even “accused of homosexuality, but of sexual harassment based on a false accusation, without any evidence,” by a mere decision of a judge..
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Ebrahim Hamidi's lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, has been forced into hiding after a warrant for his arrest was issued. The Iranian authorities are furious over Mostafaei's highly publicised efforts to stop the stoning to death of Sakineh Ashtiani on alleged charges of adultery.

“There is no evidence that Hamidi is gay or that he committed any crime. This execution must be stopped. We need your help,” said Dan Littauer, editor of Gay Middle East.

“Ebrahim's case shows the flaws and failings of the Iranian legal system. It is further evidence that innocent people are sentenced on false charges of homosexuality," added Peter Tatchell of the London-based LGBTI human rights group OutRage!
Hamidi, 18- Year Old Faces execution in Iran
Accra Daily Mail, August 5, 2010

Transexual is robbed and strangled to death by her brothers in her apartment because they “opposed her immorality”

on April 25th, 2010 police found a 24 year old woman dead in her apartment, on Shariati St. After an initial investigation it became apparent the woman was called Mahsa and was a transsexual that had undergone sex-change assignment (his name before sex-change was Masood). Mahsa was strangled, and the police found out that her brothers were perpetrators. In addition the brothers stole money they found on her.

The two brothers confessed to the killing of Mahsa, and mentioned the reason as “opposing her immorality”. Their father, who in Iranian Shari’a law is the Vali’ye Dam (Masa’s blood-owner), forgave his two sons for the murder. One brother was sentenced to 8 years in prison, with five years suspended jail time and the other for three with two years suspended jail time. In other words the brothers would only serve three and one year respectively in prison for murder!

This is a painful example of how Iranian law concedes if not indirectly sanctions honour killings in defense of any family “dishonour.” This is further proof that for all of Iran’s trumpeting of their so called “progressive” policies towards sex-change, many of the laws of the Iranian Islamic Republic actively encourages terror, violence and murder.
Transexual murdered by her brothers in Tehran
Dan Littauer, Gay Middle East, September 12, 2010

2 heterosexual footballers suspended and fined £25,000 each for the "shameless" and "ugly" act of buttock squeezing during a goal celebration. They now face a possible two months in prison and 74 lashes

Iran's football federation has suspended two players for the ‘inappropriate’ goal celebration of buttock squeezing.

Mohammad Nosrati appeared to briefly put his hand on Sheys Rezaei as players of the team Persepolis huddled together to celebrate a goal against Damash Gilan in a televised match on Saturday.

The pair were also reportedly fined almost £25,000 each and their actions might have caused little comment in the West where fans are used to ‘laddish’ behaviour by football stars, but it caused outrage in the Islamic republic.

Jalal Yahyazadeh, a cleric and member of parliament, called it a ‘shameless act’ and added that it had ‘upset, angered and outraged’ all sports fans.

‘What happened is absolutely not acceptable because it was a very ugly thing,’ he said, adding that the country’s sports minister should be held accountable.

After the incident made headlines in the international media and with a clip available on the internet, the federation’s media committee met today and ‘demanded that elements who damaged the country’s sporting spirit be dealt with firmly’.

The federation will issue a final verdict next week.

In Iran homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or in some cases of sodomy, even execution of the accused.

A number of other things are forbidden in Iran, including spiky hair, pet dogs, Facebook, ponytails, mannequins, rap music and ties.

Football is the most popular spectator sport in Iran, although women are barred from attending matches.
Two Iranian footballers are facing 74 lashes after an "immoral" goal celebration on the pitch.

Footage of the live televised match showed defender Mohammad Nosrati pinching the bottom of Persepolis teammate Sheys Rezaei during a goal celebration against rivals Damash Gilan.

Now Rezaei and Nosrati are facing a flogging, possibly on the pitch where the celebration took place, after a judge said they may have violated public chastity laws.

Judge Valiollah Hosseini told the state-run Fars news agency that the punishment for violating the chastity law is up to two months in prison and 74 lashes.

"It is even worse to do these actions before the eyes of thousandds of spectators and TV cameras," he was quoted as saying.
'Immoral' Iran Footballers Facing The Lash
Sky News, , November 4, 2011

Influential cleric entitled to issue juristic rulings says homosexuals are inferior to dogs and pigs, blames them for the spread of Aids and says pro-gay western lawmakers are lower than animals

An influential Iranian cleric who is entitled to issue juristic rulings according to the Sharia law, has condemned western lawmakers involved in the decriminalisation of homosexuality, saying those politicians are lower than animals.

Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli, an Islamic scholar based in Iran's holy city of Qom, said in a speech among his followers that homosexuals are inferior to dogs and pigs, according to the news website Khabaronline.

"If a society commits a new sin, it will face a new punishment," he said while interpreting Qur'anic verses about prophet Lot whose tribe Isalmic scholars say was punished by God for sodomy. "Problems like Aids did not exist before."

Citing the Qur'an, Javadi-Amoli said politicians who pass laws in favour of homosexuals are lower than animals. "Even animals ... dogs and pigs don't engage in this disgusting act [homosexuality] but yet they [western politicians] pass laws in favour of them in their parliaments."

Homosexuality is punishable by death according to fatwas issued by almost all Iranian clerics.
Homosexuals are inferior to dogs and pigs, says Iranian cleric
Saeed Kamali Dehghan, The Guardian, April 18, 2012

Iranian legal code does not "differentiate between rape and homosexual acts", another four men sentenced to death by hanging for sodomy in accordance to Shari'ah law

Iran court sentence four men from the town of Choram, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, to death by hanging for sodomy.

Four men named ‘Saadat Arefi’, ‘Vahid Akbari’, ‘Javid Akbari’ and ‘Houshmand Akbari’ are due to be executed shortly after their verdict was approved recently by high court judges, according to a report from the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) in Iran.

The four men are said to be from the town of Choram, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province of Iran.

According to HRANA and JOOPEA, these four men will be hanged for sodomy according Shari’a law.

A gay activist based in Iran said: ‘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.’

He added that ‘there wereof our other men hanged in past five months.’
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The issue of the death penalty for same-sex acts is further compounded by the fact that the Iranian legal code does not differentiate between rape and homosexual acts.