Last edited: July 30, 2005

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 said.

“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, democratic society.

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 Iran.

“I think the Swedish government is extremely cynical when it sends gays and lesbians back to Iran,” Soren Andersson told the AFP news agency.

“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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