The 19th of July will see anti-death penalty vigils being held all over the world to commemorate the public hanging in Iran of two gay men.

Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were accused of raping a 13 year old boy, though several human right’s groups believed that this charge was invented in order to enable the authorities in Mashhad to serve a death penalty on the men who admitted to having gay sex, and denied the rape charge.

Mr Asgari and Mr Marhoni were held in prison for 14 months for their crime, which, because it involves homosexual sex, violates holy law. They were each thrashed over 200 times before being hanged in Edalat (“Justice”) Square.

Since this hanging, many young men have been executed in Iran on “gay sexual assault” charges, some of which are likely to be covers for the real “crime ” that is being punished – being gay – according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

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

“Around the world, the death penalty and other brutal forms of punishment are used to destroy and promote fear in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”, the group said in a written statement.

It is organising the vigils around the world in association with the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organisation. One of the vigils will take place outside the Permanent Mission of The Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Building in New York, and outside the UN itself.