Iranian teenager faces execution for ‘false’ gay assault charges
An 18-year-old Iranian man is facing execution over a false sodomy charge, campaigners say.
Ebrahim Hamidi was sentenced to death two years ago at the age of 16 for an unspecified assault on another man.
Although the allegation was withdrawn and the Iranian Supreme Court has rejected the guilty verdict and execution order, a lower provincial court is insisting on Mr Hamidi’s execution.
Now, his fate lies in the hands of the Supreme Court, which must decided whether to uphold the execution order.
Previously, he was represented by the human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei but Mr Mostafaei has gone into hiding after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
The lawyer is also representing Sakineh Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who has been sentenced to death by stoning on charges of adultery.
Supporters of Mr Hamidi say that while Ms Ashtiani is unlikely to face death because she has international support, he could be executed at any time.
They are asking for people to contact their MPs to raise awareness of Mr Hamidi’s plight.
He was arrested in 2008 with three other men after a fight between two families outside the city of Tabriz.
The four men were told by police that one of the men they had been fighting had claimed they attempted to strip and sexually assault him.
The men say they were tortured in prison and Mr Hamidi signed a confession which he said was not true.
All four were tried in two consecutive provincial criminal courts and were sentenced to execution.
During their third trial, three of the men were cleared of all charges but Mr Hamidi was again sentenced to execution.
He was sentenced to die on June 21st this year.
On July 7th, the man who made the original accusation against Mr Hamidi withdrew it, telling police in a written statement that he had made up the claim under parental pressure.
The Supreme Court of Iran has twice rejecting the lower court’s rulings on the case because of shortcomings in the judicial investigation.
However, Mr Hamidi’s supporters say that the lower court is intent on his execution.
Dan Littauer, the editor of Gay Middle East, who has been reporting on the case, says that Mr Hamidi currently has no legal representation.
In a statement today, he urged people to support the accused man’s case by contacting their MPs.
“There is no evidence that Hamidi is gay or that he committed any crime. This execution must be stopped. We need your help,” Mr Littauer said.
UK-based gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell added: “Ebrahim’s case shows the flaws and failings of the Iranian legal system. It is further evidence that innocent people are sentenced on false charges of homosexuality.”
“An international campaign can help stop Ebrahim’s execution, just as a similar global campaign has, so far, halted the stoning to death of Sakineh Ashtiani.”
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