London Indymedia

OutRage!: 19 July- Intl Day of Action against Homophobic Iran

pirate | 26.06.2006 12:56 | Gender | Repression | Social Struggles | London | World

OutRage! launches an Intl Day of Action against homophobic persecution in Iran. Several cities worldwide already setting up demo's. Email and letter actions also.

OutRage! News Service June 26th 1127am

Details of Iran embassy for letters etc within text and details of demos, so far, at end...............

Iran: Stop Killing Gays & Kids!

19 July 2006

International Day of Action Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran

London – 26 June 2006

To mark the first anniversary of Iran's hanging of two gay teenagers,
Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, gay campaign groups OutRage! and
IDAHO have declared 19 July 2006 an International Day of Action
Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran (IDAAHOPI).

They are calling for worldwide protests against the “murderous
homophobic Iranian regime” and “in commemoration of Asgari and
Marhoni, the two gay teenagers executed in the city of Mashhad on 19
July last year.”

Shocking new revelations concerning the executions follow below.

Photos of the hanging of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni:

Already, 19 July protests are confirmed in five cities: Amsterdam,
London, Provincetown, San Diego and San Francisco (full details

In London, on 19 July at 6.30pm there will be a public meeting at
House of Commons, in Committee Room 12, with guest speakers: Chris
Bryant MP, Jean Lambert MEP, an Iranian gay activist, Simon Forbes and
Peter Tatchell. All welcome.

The demand of the global 19 July protests is:

Iran: Stop Killing Gays! Stop Killing Kids!

Some groups, like OutRage! in London, are also urging:

1. End all executions in Iran, especially the execution of minors.

2. Stop the arrest, torture and imprisonment of Iranian lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people and repeal the Iranian penal code’s
criminalisation of same-sex relationships.

3. Halt the deportation to Iran of LGBT asylum seekers and other
victims of Tehran’s persecution.

4. Support Iranians struggling for democracy, social justice and human

5. Oppose foreign military intervention in Iran; regime change must
come from within – by and for the Iranian people themselves.

“OutRage! believes the queer rights struggle in Iran should be part of
- not separate from - the broader democratic and human rights
struggle,” said Peter Tatchell, spokesperson for OutRage!

"When protesting against the executions last year, we received strong
support from the Iranian women’s movement and from Iranian political
dissidents and labour movement activists. Linking up with these
progressive social forces within Iran is the key to advancing LGBT
human rights in that country.

“We urge lesbians and gays, and our straight allies, to organise
protest actions on 19 July in cities all over the world.

“Protest outside the Iranian Embassy. Bombard the Iranian Ambassador
with protest letters, faxes and emails,” urged Mr Tatchell.

Louis-Georges Tin, coordinator of the International Day Against
Homophobia (IDAHO), who is also calling for global protests, added:

“Something special has happened since 19 July 2005: an international
movement is emerging in solidarity with the two boys and all the
victims of Iran’s homophobic regime.

"The political and religious authorities in Iran should understand
that their homophobia is now regarded as an international scandal.

“On 19 July, we are standing for life, for liberty, and for love. We
standing in commemoration of Mahmoud and Ayaz and all the victims of
Tehran’s homophobic tyranny. We also stand in hope, looking forward to
a better future for the gays and lesbians of Iran," stated Mr Tin.

The US coordinator of the 19 July protests, Michael Petrelis of San
Francisco, said: "Only one American city joined last year’s the
international protests against Iran's hanging of the two gay

"This year, gays in at least three US cities will take to the streets
on July 19. We hope more cities will join us and organise vigils for
gay and lesbian Iranians.

“American gay rights organisations should devote more energy to
tackling homophobic persecution beyond our borders. The protests on
July 19 are a step towards greater US support for the global struggle
for queer freedom," concluded Mr Petrelis.

In the UK, email, phone, fax and write your protests to the Iranian

Tel: 020 7225 3000
Fax: 020 7589 4440

Iranian Ambassador
Embassy of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT

Further information from OutRage! in London: Brett Lock 0770 843 5917

New revelations about the execution of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni
in the Iranian city of Mashhad on 19 July 2005, based on research by
Simon Forbes of OutRage! and information from contacts inside Iran:

“A year-long investigation into this case has revealed that the
regime’s allegations against the two hanged youths, Mahmoud Asgari and
Ayaz Marhoni, are riddled with contradictions, implausibilities and
outright lies,” according to Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

“At first it was claimed by Iranian officials that they were aged 18
and 19, then that they were 19 and 21, then aged 18 and 20, and
finally they made the claim that they were both above 18 at the time
of their alleged crimes.

“However, the best evidence is that both youths were aged 17 when they
were executed and therefore minors, aged 15 or 16, at the time of
their alleged crimes. This execution of minors is in flagrant breach
of international agreements the Tehran regime has signed.

“The method of hanging was specifically designed to cause a slow,
painful death by strangulation.

“Concerning their crimes: at first it was claimed that they committed
one rape and were child molesters, then that they had committed
several rapes. By the autumn of 2005, the supporters of the regime
were spreading rumours that they were serial child killers.

“Local sources in Mashhad state that Mahmoud and Ayaz were lovers, not
rapists or child abusers – contrary to the homophobic propaganda of
the Iranian regime and its western left-wing and Islamist apologists.

“Witnesses report seeing them together and obviously in love at a
private party in 2003.

“Mahmoud and Ayaz were charged with the capital crime of homosexuality
after a disapproving family member reported their relationship to the

“At least one, and possibly both, of the hanged boys were members of
Iran’s persecuted Arab minority. Racism appears to have played a part
in the stereotypical way they were portrayed by the regime as being
‘underclass’ thieves and hooligans.

“Informants inside Iran make it clear that the boys were of good
character and that they came from decent, law-abiding families whose
fathers had good jobs.

“The execution of Mahmoud and Ayaz conforms to a pattern of state
torture and murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
people by the Iranian clerical regime.

“In recent years, public executions for consensual gay sex have been
rarer than in the past; apparently because the regime does not want to
draw attention to its failure to eradicate same-sex behaviour in the
‘Islamic paradise’ of Iran.

“In publicised executions of gay couples, the men are often accused of
the kidnap and rape of a younger male. All such allegations need to be
treated with extreme scepticism, as they tend to follow a suspiciously
stereotypical formula.

“By instituting charges of kidnap and rape, the Iranian authorities
apparently hope to discredit the victims, discourage public protests
and deflect international condemnation. They calculate that there will
be little Iranian or international sympathy for people hanged for
crimes like abduction and sexual assault,” said Mr Tatchell.

19 July protest info:

Five cities are organising protests:

Location: Homomonument
Time: To be announced
Contact: Mike Tidmus,

Location: House of Commons, Committee Room 12
Guest Speakers: Chris Bryant MP, Jean Lambert MEP, Iranian gay
activist, Simon Forbes and Peter Tatchell
Time: 6:30 pm
Contacts: Peter Tatchell,
& Brett Lock,

Location: Town Hall Square
Time: To be announced
Contact: Andrew Sullivan,

San Diego
Location: U.S. Federal Building
Time: 4:00 pm
Contact: Michael Mussman,

San Francisco
Location: Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets
Time: 5:00 pm
Contact: Michael Petrelis,

How about organising a protest in your city?





Hide the following 5 comments


26.06.2006 15:59

After putting the Russian situation for gays up on the main news section, we now see Indymedia apparently ignoring the plight of gay people in Iran.

We know that there is the concern at the West's potential threat to attack Iran etc, but
surely this doesn't mean we can abandon people to continung persecution without any
criticism or action ???


Blair's racists beat the war drums for the genocide of Iran

26.06.2006 17:39

There is ALWAYS the simplest of tests when it comes to distinguising between genuine Human Rights protests, and protests orchestrated by state security services in the futherance of foreign policy.


Saudi Arabia. Ring any bells? For instance, Blair's recent support for the Saudi regime over their torture of British citizens?

Saudi has an interesting way with gays. It not only sentences them to long prison terms, but requires that they are physically tortured each and every week of their sentence.

Saudi has an interesting way with adult females. It legally describes them as the possession of their closest male relative, and eliminates them from as many aspects of society as practically possible.

Of course, Saudi only made sexual slavery illegal in the late 1950's, and even today encourages the same by allowing the most powerful males to own herds of human females, called harems.

SAUDI ARABIA IS THE MAIN MIDDLE EAST ALLY OF BOTH THE UK AND US. The monsters that rule Saudia are the very best of friends with Blair and Bush..

So Outrage isn't a New Reich controlled psychological operation, eh? Why, then clearly you are seeing continuous activity by Outrage against the VERY VERY VERY worst middle east regime when it comes down to all Human Rights issues, including sexual freedom, namely Saudia Arabia. No? Well isn't that just the most amazing of co-incidences.

OUTRAGE IS NOTHING MORE THAN ANOTHER HEAD FROM BLAIR'S NEW REICH HYDRA. Blair wants the genocide of Iran, so Outrage wants the genocide of Iran.

These are tough times for Tony- Adolf Hitler- Blair. War with Iran is the essential next stage of his plan, but the very fact that this is common knowledge allows the targets to attempt to pre-empt this. North Korea and Palestine have not bounced into attention by accident. Those that must seek to protect themselves against Blair are fully aware that Blair derives power from us, and that we gice power as a direct consequence of what we think we perceive about the world.

Outrage attempts to ensure that Iran is the focus of that perception. Iran uses its allies in North Korea and Palestine to drag the focus elsewhere in order to break Blair's attempt to generate an hypnotic hold on our attention.

BLAIR HAS ONE IMPOSSIBLY POWERFUL WEAPON ON HIS SIDE, THE ABSOLUTE ABILITY TO BUILD MOMENTUM IN THE DIRECTION OF HIS GOALS. Hitler wanted the craziest of things from his nation. He couldn't offer a rational argument in favour of his most extreme desires. However, he could accumulate more and more power, and use this power to build a momentum for his vile war plans, in the certain knowledge that ALL OPPOSITION WOULD HAVE A FINITE BREAKING POINT. Blair works in exactly the same way. His ever growing fascist power base is a means to an end. To make the unthinkable possible, probable, and actual.

Today, you can read about how Blair's uniformed thugs regularly use 'pre-emptive' arrest against muslims guilty of NO CRIME. Today, you can read about how Blair's boy at the top of the Conservative party demands the removal of the Human Rights Act. Every day, more unthinkable things become actual in Blair's Britain.

The genocide of Iran has long since stopped being unthinkable in the minds of most people. Blair's SUPREME CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, aggressive war against Iraq, has made all things seem possible. Even now, the vast majority of people expect Outrage to succeed in its goal to make Blair's war against Iran a reality.

In readiness, the people prepare for a nazi-style mind-state: SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL. They don't want the war, but they know Blair can't be stopped, so they want the murder of millions of humans in Iran to be massaged out of their immediate knowledge as far as is possible. IN OTHER WORDS, FOR THEIR VERY SANITY, PEOPLE NOW DEMAND THAT BLAIR'S MASS MEDIA INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF DISHONEST REPORTING, SO THEY HEAR AND SEE AS LITTLE OF THE SUFFERING INFLICTED BY BLAIR'S WAR CRIMES AS POSSIBLE.

What was the mind state of the people of war time Japan at the time of Japan's greatest crimes? What was the mind state of the people of nazi Germany at the time of Hitler's greatest crimes? You think either population became slavering beasts, demanding more and more spilling of innocent blood? Of course not. Instead, organisations like Outrage ruled both nations, constantly telling the people that THEY were victims, or that their 'enemies' were horrible abusers of all that humans hold sacred.

The game of mass-murder, called aggressive war, is always played the same. Where there is a Hitler or Blair, there will be an Outrage, helping to pummel the minds of the population into submission.

Sadly, most of you will dismiss Outrage as a small and largely insignificant Blair cog. You are right to do so in the simple sense, but wrong when it comes to the big picture. Blair uses OUR billions to fashion thousands of such cogs, each designed to affect a different aspect of society. If we are strong in one place, Blair figures, we will be weak somewhere else. Blair just needs to create a 'boxing match' where his man has not one fist, but tens of thousands all striking at the same time. Meantime his opponent, us, has decided to never strike out, but to focus all efforts on an ever less successful defense.

‘Islamic paradise’ of Iran


Such obscene racist language used by Outrage and other Blair fronts might seem clearly counter-productive. However, the psychological experts that help draft the propaganda used by such fronts know exactly what they are doing. 'INFECTED' and 'ISLAMIC PARADISE' will be seen by many of you as clear BNP style race-hate. However, if you have that response, you are NOT the target audience of such propaganda. Instead, the strategy is to make racism 'fashionable' amongst the majority, even the majority of so-called 'liberals' or 'left-wing activists'.

The majority of all people, regardless of why they have come together, can be turned into an easily controlled mob (for at least a short time) when those in power have almost exclusive control of the messages received by the people. Only a tiny minority will actively seek to deny the effects of the control propaganda.

So now the time is NOT to appear concerned with the thoughts of those that hold constant to Human decency at a global level. Instead, now it is time for Blair to reap the harvest of racism and hatred that Blair's forces have spent long years sowing and growing. Blair trusts that his people can censor enough thoughtful and analytical comment by people such as myself, and that anyway, such comment will be lost in a sea of carefully placed cheerleading.

REMEMBER, Hitler had many invasions before things turned truly nasty. Blair has begun his program of aggressive warfare in ways far nastier right from the start, but nothing can prepare us for how the world will be after Blair's genocide of Iran has begun.

Oh, and notice the crudely placed attempt to stir up sectarian violence in Iran by Outrage.

members of Iran’s persecuted Arab minority. Racism appears to have played a part
in the stereotypical way they were portrayed

Forget the hypocrisy when considering how muslims are treated in the West, and think about Blair's short/middle term strategy. Iran was the major US partner in both the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, and Iran gained absolute power in both nations as a consequence. Iran gains and maintains this power through massive use of violence against non-US protected minorities in Afghanistan and Iraq. While Iran sees its activities as political and merely consequential, Blair KNOWS that Iran can be factually described as a racist colonial power that has used every illegal means to increase its power base.

The significance of this fact cannot be overstated. Blair intends to use sectarian violence on a scale not seen since WW2 as part of the next stage of his war plans in the Middle East. When Iran is attacked, the intention is that the whole world will learn of the extent of Iranian crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran will be portrayed as a regime that accepted no limit in its use of racist violence to gain power against competing peoples in these two nations. The domino theory propaganda that was used against Iran back when the Shah lost power will be resurrected with a vengence.

If muslims have been attacked for seeking to go to Iraq to help fight against the foreign terrorist invaders, muslims of every possible flavour will be positively encouraged to join with those seeking revenge against the 'crimes' of Iran. 'Arab' muslims, 'Kurd' muslims, 'Sunni' muslims, 'communist' muslims, 'non-theocratic' muslims etc., will all be seen by Blair as potential sources of 'useful idiots' eager to expend their lives in his war.

You've all seen the scenario play out recently, on a tiny scale, with Serbia. Serbia, with the active (though somewhat disguised) support of major European powers, waged horrific racist war in the former Yugoslavia. When the US finally intervened, and forced an end to the war, Serbia was left the de facto victor. However, when it became useful to do so, Blair declared war against Serbia (with Kosovo as the excuse), and Serbia suddenly suffered for every unpunished crime carried out during the previous war. Iran is in a very similar moral/historical position with one main difference- the US did not fight on the side of Serbia, but the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are seen as mainly US affairs by most people on the planet.

However, this won't make a difference to those that Blair intends to involve in his firestorm of sectarian violence. Rather, Blair is assuming that the people of the lands in and around Iran can be induced to fight each other like during the days of war in the former Yugoslavia, while his war against Iran is morally justified by reference to Iranian crimes willingly carried in Iraq.

In a dispatch posted at 8:55pm Makkah time Sunday night, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that fourteen bodies of Sunni youths who had been savagely tortured and murdered were delivered on Sunday to the Forensic Medicine Center in central Baghdad’s Bab al-Mu‘azzam district. The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported families of the victims area said that all 14 were college students who were about to finish up and graduate. But on Friday, 23 June, pro-American Shi‘i sectarian militiamen, wearing the uniform of the American-backed Iraqi puppet army, arrested them from their homes in the predominantly Hur Rajab section of Baghdad and took them away. Their bodies showed up Sunday in the Forensic Medicine Department where the medical experts issued a report saying that the victims had been burned with concentrated sulfuric acid and electric drills were used to punch holes in their skulls.

The above is from the latest Iraq 'resistance report' and illustrates the consequences of the so-called Iraq 'government' crackdown against 'insurgents' so proudly covered by the BBC and ITN. When Blair's quisling leaders in Iraq are held to account soon, it won't be to point the finger at the monster that gave them power, namely Blair. No, it will be to prove to people that Iranian forces are as evil as any previously fought by the West.

The point is simple. Blair only needs to stir the sectarian pot, and wait for the inevitable. The Iranians hope to survive by using their alliances to create a confusion of ever changing headline grabbing stories, like the North Korea missile test, to frustrate Blair's attempts to keep Iran under the spotlight. The result? Iran delays the inevitable with theoretical perfection, and prays that circumstances in the world change enough in the meantime to see the end of Blair's power and influence.

To those that wish to swallow every bit of racist warmongering anti-Iran propaganda whole, let me point out one very significant fact. Even if you take every statement issued by Blair's forces against Iran as true, remember that the abuses you believe occur within Iran across YEARS are matched by the abuses that happen to the Iraq people as a DIRECT CONSEQUENCE of Blair's aggresive war in ONE DAY.



Want to hurt Blair/Bush, AND fight for sexual freedom in a so-called muslim nation? Then target the regime of Saudi Arabia, and target it hard. Want to help Blair and Bush mass murder millions of muslims? Then target Iran. Your choice.



27.06.2006 01:48

Haven't you learned the way things are by now? If something happens like the breaking up of a gay rights parade in a place like Poland or Russia, then it's the work of evil whitey and must be protested. But if it's the torture and execution of gays in places like Iran, you mustn't offend the poor victimised, peace loving muslims. If you do then you're obviously a spook.

Humpty Dumpty


30.06.2006 16:53

I think the comments you make about Saudi Arabia are very valid and this idea of outrage working in cahoots with Labour is a degree. I understand and to some extent agree with your point that now is not the time to attack Iran when there is such a fear about another illegal war happening. But I think that's the only reason not to attack them now. Iran does need to be exposed for the terrible human rights abuses it is committing as does every country like it.

What I can not agree with you on is contesting the phrase "infected by Islam" as far as I am concerned all religion is an infection its another tool to keep the proletariat down; within privileged western society we constantly attack the christian church yet doing it to any other religion is seen as somehow WRONG or IMMORAL. I think thats bollox. All organised religion is abhorrent and must be smashed; it creates wars and oppreses millions i dont think a critique of religion is ever unjustified unless there is an explicit purpose to stir up racial hatred.

Ive possibly made a mistake in what i was saying there, Im not the most eloquent of internet writers; I cant re-read because Ill keep re-writing. I eagerly await your response.


Executed for Rape, Not for Being Gay

19.07.2006 23:43

The text below is almost a year old. It is bad enough that Iran executes juveniles or anyone else but to falsely exploit this crime for propaganda purposes adds insult to injury and it does no one any good for LGBT activists to be trafficking in known lies or, at best, dubious assertions. Or, maybe, Peter Tatchell has evidence that IGLHRC, Amnesty Intl, and HRW are all part of an elaborate 'Islamo-fascist'-driven campaign to cover up "the public hanging of two gay teenage lovers."


Update on Executions in Iran
Date: July 28, 2005 Asia & Pacific » Iran » Action Alert
Since last week, IGLHRC has learned more facts about the public executions which took place in Mashad, Iran on July 19, 2005. The most accurate information we now have has come from our colleagues at Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The two young men publicly hanged in Iran were convicted of sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old boy. They were in held detention for 14 months prior to the execution, where they were also subjected to 228 lashes each. For more information and current updates on the facts of the case, please see Amnesty International’s Public Statement below and the Human Rights Watch website at: Human Rights Watch News

Despite reports circulated by numerous groups throughout the past several days, and the recent condemnation by some governments, including the Netherlands, of the executions of “two gay teenagers”, there is no conclusive information which suggests that the two young men were put to death based on consensual homosexual sex.

However, the fact of the public executions of the men, at least one of whom is reported to have been a minor at the time of the crime, is a violation of human rights law. Iran, a state party to both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is obligated to refrain from the execution of any person under the age of 18 for any crime. Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has also publicly called for Iran to implement laws that clearly ban the execution of minors.

IGLHRC will continue to monitor this situation. IGLHRC also calls on the government of Iran to uphold its obligations under international law to refrain from any future imposition of the death penalty as punishment for crimes committed by juveniles. Human Rights Watch has prepared a letter to the President of Iran which is below.

Background Information:

Amnesty International Public Statement:

Public Statement

AI Index: MDE 13/038/2005 (Public)
News Service No: 199
22 July 2005

Iran continues to execute minors and juvenile offenders

In the wake of the execution of three persons for crimes committed when
they were children (under 18), including one who is still a child, in less
than a week, Amnesty International today urges the Iranian government to
put a final stop to these executions.

On 19 July 2005, an 18-year-old, identified only as A. M. and a
minor, Mahmoud A, were publicly hanged in the north-eastern city of
Mashhad. According to reports, they were convicted of sexual assault on a
13-year-old boy and had been detained 14 months ago. Prior to their
execution, the two were also given 228 lashes each for drinking, disturbing
the peace and theft.

Prior to this, on 13 July 2005, Ali Safarpour Rajabi, aged 20, was
hanged for killing Hamid Enshadi, a police officer in Poldokhtar. Amnesty
International recorded his death sentence as having been passed in February
2002, when he was 17 years old, and believes his crime may have been
committed when he was only 16 years old.

As a state party to the International Convention on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
(CRC), Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed
when they were under the age of 18.

For the past four years, the Iranian authorities have been considering legislation that would prohibit the use of the death penalty for offences committed by persons under the age of 18. Under Article 1210(1) of Iran’s Civil Code, the ages of 15 lunar years for boys and nine lunar years for girls are set out as the age of criminal responsibility.

In January 2005, following its consideration of Iran's second
periodic report on its implementation of the provisions of the CRC, the
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee), the
body of independent experts established under this Convention to monitor
states parties' compliance with the treaty, urged Iran:

"to take the necessary steps to immediately suspend the execution of all death penalties imposed on persons for having committed a crime before the age of 18, to take the appropriate legal measures to convert them to penalties in conformity with the provisions of the Convention and to abolish the death penalty as a sentence imposed on persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18, as required by article 37 of the Convention."
And, inter alia:

"to suspend immediately the imposition and execution of all forms of
torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, such as amputation,
flogging or stoning, for crimes committed by persons under 18." (paragraphs 30 and 72.b of the Committee's Concluding Observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.254.)

So far this year, Iran has executed at least four persons for crimes commited when they were children including one who is still a child.
Amnesty International has recorded 42 executions so far in 2005, but the
true number could well be higher.

It is now imperative for Iran to stop sentencing children to death,
to end the executions of children, and to halt all forms of violence against children.

Human Rights Watch: Letter to the President of Iran and the Head of the Judiciary

July 27, 2005

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahroodi
Justice Ministry Bldg.
Pazdah-Khordad (Ark) Sq.
Tehran, Iran

By fax: 98 21 222 90 151

Your Excellency:

We write to express our grave concern over the July 19 public hanging in Mashhad of two people for crimes they were found to have committed while at least one of them was under the age of eighteen. The continued practice of executing juvenile offenders—as well as the imposition of sentences of flogging, which constitutes torture—places Iran in violation of its international legal obligations. We urge you to bring an end to these practices and to support legislation barring the execution of sentences of death on people for crimes committed before age eighteen.

Two young men, Mahmoud A. and Ayaz M., were hanged in public in Mashhad on July 19, 2005. Press reports indicate that they were executed for sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old boy fourteen months earlier. One of the accused was seventeen years old at the time of the alleged crime; the other was apparently seventeen or eighteen. Each victim also received 228 lashes for theft, disturbing public order, and consuming alcohol.

The practice of executing people for crimes they committed while juveniles remains common in Iran. In 2004, Iran executed four people for such crimes, and there are currently at least thirty juveniles facing sentences of death. Human Rights Watch has confirmed the names and ages at the time of offense of five juvenile offenders under sentence of death in Iran: Milad Bakhtiari, 17 years old; Hussein Haghi, 16 years old; Hussein Taranj, 17 years old; Farshad Saeedi, 17 years old; Saeed Khorrami, 16 years old.

Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all circumstances because of its cruel and inhumane nature. Human rights principles and protections are founded upon respect for the inherent dignity of all human beings and the inviolability of the human person. These principles cannot be reconciled with the death penalty, a form of punishment that is unique in its barbarity and finality. The intrinsic fallibility of all criminal justice systems assures that even when full due process of law is respected, innocent persons may be executed.

In particular, in imposing sentences of death on people for crimes committed before the age of eighteen, Iran flouts clear and specific human rights obligations. Article 6.5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) bars the imposition of the death penalty for such offenses. Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child contains the same prohibition and also bars the imposition of life sentences without parole for juvenile offenses. These provisions reflect the reality that children are different from adults. They lack the experience, judgement, maturity, and restraint of an adult.

Iran is a party to both treaties—it ratified the ICCPR without reservation and the Convention on the Rights of the Child subject to a general reservation of " the right not to apply any provisions or articles of the Convention that are incompatible with Islamic Laws and the international legislation in effect."

Both treaties forbid the imposition of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes that children have the right to protection from all forms of violence. It is not clear that Iran interprets its reservation to apply to these provisions, but to the extent that it does, the reservation is invalid. A state may not formulate a reservation that is incompatible with the object and purpose of a treaty. As the Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeatedly emphasized, both the juvenile death penalty and corporal punishment in the penal system are incompatible with the convention. Accordingly, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its January 2005 review of Iran's compliance with the treaty, urged the government

"to take the necessary steps to immediately suspend the execution of all death penalties imposed on persons for having committed a crime before the age of 18, to take the appropriate legal measures to convert them to penalties in conformity with the provisions of the Convention and to abolish the death penalty as a sentence imposed on persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18, as required by article 37 of the Convention".

It has also called upon Iran "to take all the necessary measures to ensure that persons who committed crimes while under 18 are not subjected to any form of corporal punishment and to immediately suspend the imposition and the execution of sentences of amputation, flogging, stoning and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

Iran 's Majlis has for four years considered legislation which would amend Article 1210 of the civil code to prohibit executions for crimes committed under the age of eighteen. We urge you to support such legislation and to end all forms of torture, including amputation, flogging, and stoning, imposed as criminal penalties.


Hadi Ghaemi Michael Bochenek
Iran Researcher Counsel
Middle East and North Africa Division Children’s Rights Division

Maria Celeste


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