Global Anger Grows Over Teen Executions in Iran
U.K., July 25, 2005
SUMMARY: International human rights organizations are
calling for action to be taken against Iran after officials publicly executed
two gay teenagers last week.
International human rights organizations are calling for
action to be taken against Iran after officials publicly executed two gay
teenagers last week.
The two boys, who were identified only by their initials,
were executed for having sex with each other. Homosexuality is illegal under
the Sharia law, which allows execution of children as young as 9 years of age.
The teens were also charged with raping a 13-year-old
boy, although the majority of news services say this charge has been trumped
up by the Iranian state in a bid to avoid international criticism.
Activists believe the boys gave their “confession”
after weeks of torture. They were detained and subjected to beatings by local
police for up to two weeks before their death.
Now, international groups are calling for stronger action
to be taken against Iran. In Tehran Saturday, children’s rights activist
Shirin Ebadi said that the hangings violated the terms of the International
Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, told the
Associated Press that her campaign to outlaw the execution of minors had
“fallen on deaf ears,” but vowed that her Center for the Protection of
Human Rights would step up the fight.
In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign is
calling for Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to denounce the executions.
“As we have seen in recent weeks, the barbarous
punishments for sexual acts in these countries run contrary to the letter and
the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the HRC stated in
a letter to Rice.
“For that reason, these acts must be condemned.”
In the United Kingdom, Peter Tatchell of the London-based
LGBT rights group OutRage! criticized the Labour party for trying to forge
closer ties with the government of Iran.
“Britain’s Labour government is pursuing friendly
relations with this murderous regime, including aid and trade,” Tatchell
“We urge the international community to treat Iran as a
pariah state, break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions and give
practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran.”
Tatchell also said the country had become a “prison,”
with the ultraconservative state blocking any movement toward a more liberal,
Elsewhere, activists are calling for their governments to
publicly criticize the Iranian-sanctioned executions.
In Sweden, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) has called on the government to update
its asylum policy so that lesbian and gay people are not deported back to
“I think the Swedish government is extremely cynical
when it sends gays and lesbians back to Iran,” Soren Andersson told the AFP
“They keep looking for excuses to send them back there,
but it is dangerous for homosexuals in Iran,” he added.
However, Iran is standing firm on its decision to kill
the two young men. Last week, ultraconservative deputy Ali Asgari stated that
the punishment “served them right.”
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