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.
According to Outrage!, three other young gay Iranians are being hunted by the police, but they have gone into hiding and cannot be found. If caught, they will also face execution.
News of the two executions was first reported by ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on Tuesday morning. A later news story by Iran In Focus, based on this original ISNA report, claimed the youths were executed for sexually assaulting a 13 year old boy. But the ISNA report does not mention any sexual assault.
“This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran,” Peter Tatchell, board members of OutRage!, said. “According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.”
Outrage! is calling for world-wide urgent action and is asking world leaders to protest the Iranian Ambassador at the Embassy in their countries. In addition, Outrage! Is also asking world leaders to take urgent action against Iran.