London - 11 August 2005
One hundred people protested outside the Iranian Embassy in London
today, 11 August 2005 – coinciding with simultaneous US and European
protests against Iran’s “tyrannical, homophobic, misogynistic and
“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 demo.
“The London protest was one of five simultaneous international
demonstrations. The others were in Dublin, San Francisco, Paris and
Montpelier. These protests 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 and asylum 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) were hanged in Edalat
(Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in north east Iran, on 19
Photos of their execution can be seen at:
“Some 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 the LGBT human rights group OutRage!.
Fact: Iran executes lesbians and gays. The Iranian government has
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 punishment. It is barbaric and should be abolished,”
added Mr Isalam.
Email, phone, fax and write your protests to the Iranian Ambassador:
Tel: 020 7225 3000
Fax: 020 7589 4440
Embassy of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org
“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
“The teenagers admitted to having gay sex, probably under torture, but
claimed in their defence that their crime was common and they were not
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 and that the court should take
into account his tender age. He was quoted by the IRIN 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
“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 crime. They have gone into hiding
and cannot be found. If caught, they will probably also face
execution,“ said Mr Saeed.
“The allegation of rape may be a trumped up charge to undermine public
sympathy for the youths. The 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 even
consensual sexual 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 democracy and human
“Without an end to the fundamentalist regime, there can never be
justice for LGBT people, women, trade unionists and minority religions
and nationalities in Iran.
“The lack of liberal and left support for the victims of the Iranian
tyranny is truly shocking. We deplore the absence of international
solidarity with Iranians fighting for freedom,” concluded Mr Lock.
Photos of the protest (free use, no charge):
Further information: Brett Lock or OutRage! on 0770 843 5917