Published by John S. Burke
In Iran, a court has sentenced 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.'
London based Iranian Human Rights Lawyer, Mehri Jafari said: 'I am horrified
and saddened to have heard the news about these four men. Not only with regards
to the execution which is about to take place, but the fact that is beyond our
'There are two important issues in this case; the location of the alleged
occurrence and the interpretation of the Sharia' law that a Hodud (strict
Sharia punishment) is eminent. 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. 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
Mehri further pleaded: 'I hope international organisations act quickly and
effectively on this specific case.'
Gorji Marzban chairperson of the Austrian-based Oriental Queer Organization
(ORQOA) said: 'The recent death sentence for the four Iranian men is a shocking
reality and demonstrates the discrepancy between Western and Islamic perception
of queer life. The rhetoric of announcement makes the link between same-sex
sexual activity, or sodomy with corporal punishment very clear. Last month the
Iranian authorities hanged a young man and the local news agencies/authorities
were intentionally unclear about the reason for the death penalty. In the case
of these four men we have a clear text attributing the reason for hanging is
'The judicial denial of same-sex relationships in Iran stems from its
relationship to Shari'a law and patriarchy. This is a warning signal not only
for the queer population of Iran but also for all types of gender inclusive the
heterosexuals who have sexual relations outside marriage.
'The death penalty has failed to eradicate homosexuality from Iran but it was
successful to force queer people into the closets. Sooner or later any Islamic
community is obliged to integrate queer people. We believe that Iranians should
gain more gender equality and rights and wholly condemn such an archaic
sentence to murder which is inherently unislamic!'
Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its 2011 - We are a Buried Generation:
Discrimination and Violence Against Sexual Minorities in Iran - stated that
because trials on moral charges in Iran are usually held in closed sessions, it
is difficult to determine what proportion of those charged and executed for
same-sex conduct are gay and in what proportion the alleged offense was
Because of the lack of transparency, Human Rights Watch said: 'It cannot be
ruled out that Iran is sentencing sexual minorities who engage in consensual
same-sex relations to death under the guise that they have committed forcible
sodomy or rape.'
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
Furthermore, in many cases, it is often unclear whether the accused has
actually committed a sexual act or it is a mere accusation based on some
dispute. Even in the cases where the same-sex act has happened, often it is not
clear whether the individuals involved are actually gay or it is an occasional
act of sexual gratification.
Iranian Human Rights activists constantly note the fact that the two genders
are strictly segregated increases the tendency for same-sex acts among the
youth, in a phenomena that is also similarly known in single gender prisons.
Indeed this phenomenon happens throughout highly segregated societies in the
Middle East and North Africa.
The international community must stand as one to demand an immediate halt to
any plans to execute four Iranian men, Saadat Arefi, Vahid Akbari, Javid Akbari
and Houshmand Akbari, who have been condemned to die after being convicted of
Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the plight of gay people in Iran knows
exactly what this charge, and the Islamic Republic's willful failure to
differentiate between rape and consensual same-gender sexual relations, really
Furthermore, the charge itself as stipulated under the Islamic Republic's
legal statutes is illegal under international human rights covenants and
treaties to which Iran is a signatory.
WE REMIND YOU THAT THIS DEATH SENTENCE IS LIKELY TO BE CARRIED OUT IN THE VERY
IMMEDIATE FUTURE UNLESS YOU ACT NOW!
The blood of four innocent gay men will be an indelible stain upon the
conscience of the world community if this atrocity is allowed to proceed!
Pubblicato da Lorenzo Bernini