William Hague to be asked about Iranian teenager sentenced to death for homosexuality
Foreign secretary William Hague will be questioned this afternoon about an Iranian teenager who has been sentenced to death for homosexuality offences.
Mr Hague, who recently denied he was gay, will be asked what reports he has received about Ebrahim Hamidi in today’s Foreign Office questions.
According to Evening Standard deputy political editor Paul Waugh, newly-elected Tory MP Mark Menzies has tabled a question in today’s Order Paper about Mr Hamidi’s plight.
It says: “To ask the Foreign Secretary what reports he has received on the case of Ebrahim Hamidi, sentenced to death on charges of homosexuality in Iran.”
Mr Waugh wrote: “I’m sure Mr Menzies was trying to be helpful, but there could be some in the chamber who will be more mischievous. Will the Foreign Sec himself answer or will he leave it to a junior minister?”
Mr Hague became the subject of rumours about his sexuality last month, after pictures of him walking with 25-year-old aide Chris Myers were published. Detailing his wife’s struggles to conceive, Mr Hague said he was not gay and Mr Myers resigned, citing media pressure on his family.
Last month, the Foreign Office said it had “serious concerns” at reports of Mr Hamidi’s impending execution and was making enquiries in Iran.
The 18-year-old, who is not gay, is facing execution after being found guilty of sodomy, despite his accuser withdrawing the allegation and Iran’s Supreme Court ruling against the verdict and execution order.
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In June, the coalition government promised that Britain would use its status as a world leader for LGBT rights to lobby other countries to repeal homophobic laws.
A number of countries around the world, including Iran, criminalise homosexuality.
The judge in Mr Hamidi’s case is using a legal provision which allows for subjective judicial rulings where there is no conclusive evidence.
Gay rights campaigners say that this is an instance where straight people can be executed for homosexuality offences.
He was arrested with three other men in 2008, after a fight between two disputing families outside the city of Tabriz. The alleged victim initially claimed he had been sexually assaulted but later withdrew his allegation, saying his family had pressured him into making it.
The three other men were cleared of the charges. All four said they had been tortured and Mr Hamidi said he had signed a confession which was not true.
More: Middle East