Archive for the ‘Sodomy’ Category

Iran: Stop Executions for Sodomy Charges

Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Iranian Queers Organization (IRQO) and COC Netherlands in calling on Iranian authorities to stop the numerous executions of minors and adults accused of sodomy. Also join us in calling on Western countries with significant diplomatic and economic ties to Iran, including Germany, France, Canada, as well as the European Union, to pursue diplomatic efforts to cease these executions.

Use our electronic system below to send a letter in English to the foreign officials and another letter in Persian to Iranian officials.

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The Issue

The courts in Iran have sentenced a number of men to death after they were accused and convicted of sodomy. Under Iranian law, sodomy includes sexual intercourse between members of the same sex, and is illegal. The punishment for same-sex intercourse between two men (Lavaat) is death and between two women (Mosaheghe) is 100 lashes for the first three offenses and the death penalty for the fourth.

Most, if not all of these arbitrary executions orders follow rushed trials with little adherence to procedure. Judges overseeing sodomy cases often ignore the strict guidelines of the Iranian Penal Code, and instead use questionable investigative methods and inadmissible evidence to decide the case. Frequently, the convictions are based on forced confessions, made under extreme psychological pressure and torture. Additionally, at least three lawyers who have defended people accused of sodomy have expressed fear of harassment and intimidation by the government and vigilantes. The courts do not allow independent observers to examine cases. Such practices violate the defendants’ human rights to a fair trial, free from torture.

In most cases, the Court convicts the defendants of sodomy charges solely on the basis of “the knowledge of the judge”. According to Iranian law, when there is not enough evidence to convict a defendant of a sexual crime, the judge may use his knowledge, in a deductive process based on the evidence that already exists, to determine whether the crime took place or not. Unfortunately, the excessive use of this principle means that rather than paying attention to evidence, the judge often sentences defendants to death based on his speculations. A number of prominent legal and religious scholars believe that such a broad application of the “the knowledge of the judge” to issue death penalty for sexual crimes is in violation of the letter and the spirit of Sharia law.

Regardless of the procedural errors of the trials, Iran’s practice of punishing sexual crimes such as sodomy with the death penalty is cruel, disproportionate to the nature of the crime, and inherently arbitrary under international law. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has stated that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a party, applying the death penalty for ‘homosexual acts’ violates Article 6, and that criminalization of private sexual relations between consenting adults is contrary to Articles 17 and 26. Additionally, the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions has expressed concern numerous times about the use of the death penalty for consensual sodomy and has stated that criminalizing sodomy “increases the social stigmatization of members of sexual minorities, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to violence and human rights abuses, including violations of the right to life.”

Alarmingly, some of the defendants sentenced to death were tried for sexual acts they were accused of committing as minors. Article 111 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code states that, “Sodomy is only punishable by death if both parties are adults and of sound mind” and Article 6(5) of the ICCPR states that “[A] sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” Thus, neither Iranian law nor international law permits the execution of these young men.

The following sodomy cases have been brought in the Iranian judicial system within the past three years. We are still investigating other possible cases in which men have been charged with sodomy, convicted, and sentenced to death.

1. Ghaseem Bashkool, son of AzizAllah and born in 1984, was arrested along with another young man on May 31, 2007 on charges of sodomy. Both men were convicted despite an absence of credible evidence, and sentenced to death. At the time of the arrest, Qhassem was a third-year student of applied mathematics, but following his arrest, he was expelled from the university. The negative publicity around his case also took a toll on his family, causing them great social and economic hardship.

The First District of the Criminal Court of the Ardabil province found both men guilty of sodomy and sentenced them to death. In February 2009, an open letter surfaced on the Internet in which he pleaded for his life. In his letter, Ghassem insisted that the sodomy allegation was baseless and that in the absence of any credible evidence, the judge had referred to the “knowledge of the judge” as the basis of his ruling. At the time of the writing of the letter, Ghassem had spent 20 months in Ardebil prison.

Despite repeated efforts by a number of lawyers and human rights defenders inside Iran to investigate the situation, it currently remains unclear.

2. In February 2009, an informed source at the Fars Province Bar Association confirmed that the Fourth District of the Criminal Court in the Fars Province had convicted a man of sodomy and, in accordance with Article 110 of the Islamic Penal Code, had sentenced him to the death penalty, which would be administered by throwing him off a cliff.

Following the gruesome ruling of the Court, the accuser decided to withdraw his complaint and asked the Court to close the case. Instead, the Court ruled that the public aspect of the case (in the Court’s language, “the violation of the divine law”), forces the Court to prosecute the defendant regardless of the accuser’s demand. However, in the absence of the private complaint, the Court ordered a retrial and that the earlier ruling to be nullified.

We are still in the process of gathering information regarding the current status of the ruling and the defendant.

3. On Aug 9, 2008, the Iranian reformist newspaper Kargozaran, which was later shut down by the government, reported on the conviction of 4 young men in Tabriz (North-Western Iran) for sodomy. According to the report, Mahdi Pooran (17-years-old), Hamid Taghi, Ebrahim Hamidi, and Mehdi Rezaii were found guilty of sodomy by the Second District Criminal Court of Tabriz in July 2008, and were sentenced to death. The case was based on a complaint by a 19-year old man with a history of family feuds with the defendants, Hojat, who accused the defendants of physical and sexual assault. Although Hojat consistently told the court that he had no witness for his alleged rape, in the last session of the court he introduced 3 of his male relatives as witnesses to the rape. Given the absence of 4 male witnesses, the Court’s ruling was based on the “knowledge of the judge.”

The prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaii, who represented the four defendants, believes his clients were framed. In a post to his blog, he says that following a fist fight between his clients and a group of four young men who trespassed and were damaging a piece of land owned by Ebrahim’s father, the police intervened and arrested his clients, accusing them of gang-rape. Since his clients declared their innocence, the police officials started beating and torturing them for 3 days, hoping that at least one of them would confess to the sexual act. After 3 days, the police referred the case to the court as a sodomy rape case.

After the initial hearing, the court ordered the release of the men on $10,000 bail, but it took the defendants 28 days to provide the bail and get out of jail. Fifty-five days later, during the trial, the Deputy District Attorney requested the death penalty for the defendants. The court sentenced all defendants to death penalty, which will be carried out after approval by the Iranian Supreme Court at an unspecified time.

4. In February 2008, reports surfaced of the arrest of two young men, Hamze Chavoshi (19 years old) and Loghman Hamzepour (18 years old), in the Kurdish city of Sardasht in Western Iran. Both men were accused of sodomy. Their current status is under investigation.

5. Sources have informed us that a Court in Shiraz found Mohsen Ghabraii guilty of sodomy and sentenced him to death. Despite his lawyer’s appeal, his death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court and it will be carried out soon. Mohsen, who at the time of the alleged crime was a minor, has pleaded not guilty and has insisted on his innocence ever since.

6. Nemat Safavi, now 19 years old, was arrested in June 2006 at age 16 for alleged sodomy. According to reports in 2008, the Criminal Court in Ardebil sentenced him to death. Nemat was first sent to a juvenile detention center and was later admitted to the young adult prison facility in Ardebil, waiting for his death sentence to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

According to an investigation performed by the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) in November 2009, the Supreme Court overturned Nemat’s death sentence on March 4, 2009 and sent the case to another criminal court in Ardebil for retrial. Efforts are currently underway to provide Nemat with a defense lawyer who can convince the court of his innocence and prevent another death sentence for him.

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Contact Information

Please use the Persian text below, based on the English sample letter, and write to Iranian officials to ask them to use their authority to stop the pending executions on sodomy charges and to put an end to criminalizing same-sex intercourse. We also request that you use the English sample letter to write the Western governments with diplomatic and economic ties to Iran, urging them to pressure Iran to end the killing of its citizens for sodomy convictions.

Please send the letter below in Persian to:

Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei
Chief Justice of Iran, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani
Foreign Minister of Iran, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki

Please send the English letter to the following European authorities:

The Presidency of the European Union, Swedish Prime Minister Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt
Foreign Minister of Sweden, Ms. Carl Bildt
Foreign Minister of Germany, Dr Guido Westerwelle
Foreign Minister of France, Dr Bernard Kouchner
Canadian Foreign Mistier, Honorable Lawrence Cannon

Please send a copy of your letters to:


Sample English Letter to European Officials

Your Excellency:

I am writing to request an immediate intervention to save the lives of a number of Iranian men, including minors and people who were minors at the time the alleged crimes occurred, who are currently in detention after having been convicted of sodomy and sentenced to death. These men include Ghaseem Bashkool, Mahdi Pooran, Hamid Taghi, Ebrahim Hamidi, Mehdi Rezaii, Hamze Chavoshi, Loghman Hamzepour, Mohsen Ghabraii, and Nemat Safavi (see appendix for more information about their cases).

As you know, Iran has one of the highest rates of execution in the world. Imposing the death penalty for sexual crimes is a cruel and unusual form of punishment, which violates international human rights law. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has stated that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a party, that applying the death penalty for ‘homosexual acts’ violates Article 6, and that criminalization of private sexual relations between consenting adults is contrary to Articles 17 and 26. Additionally, the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions has expressed concern numerous times about the use of the death penalty for consensual sodomy and has stated that criminalizing sodomy “increases the social stigmatization of members of sexual minorities, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to violence and human rights abuses, including violations of the right to life.”

Over the past three decades, the Iranian authorities have persecuted many of their citizens for sodomy, a crime that the Iranian Penal Code states is punishable by death. Unfortunately, the sodomy law has been frequently used to punish minors and consenting adults who were privately involved in same-sex practices, and those who have never been involved in such practices.

Although the Iranian Penal Code is very strict about the level of evidence required to prove sodomy, including a requirement of the testimony of four, reliable, male witnesses who have seen the sexual act and are able and willing to testify before the court, the courts often rely on inadmissible or unreliable methods. These methods frequently include forced confession under severe physical and psychological pressure or torture, the speculation of the judge (known as the “knowledge of the judge”), forced medical exams, and reports by informers.

The defendants are denied fair and open trials; due to the taboo nature of sexual crimes, lawyers, human rights activists and reporters find it next to impossible to advocate on behalf of the defendants. Furthermore, the Iranian judicial system does not allow independent observers to examine the outcome of the courts and those who dare to advocate for the defendants are often harassed by the government and vigilantes.

The lack of transparency and due process for defendants, the imposition of the death penalty for minors, and the frequent violations of strict guidelines of the Iranian Penal Code for trying sexual crimes demonstrate the fundamentally unjust nature and implementation of the sodomy law in Iran. Regardless of the sexual orientation and gender identity of these individuals, the Iranian government should not murder its own citizens based on allegations of sexual behaviors that are nearly impossible to prove under Iranian legal standards.

I strongly urge you and your government to use your diplomatic influence on Iran to stop the pending executions of the minor and adult men already convicted of sodomy.



محضر مبارک حضرت آیت الله سید علی خامنه ای، مقام معظم رهبری جمهوری اسلامی ایران،

پس از عرض سلام و تقدیم احترامات فائقه، محترما به استحضار حضرتعالی میرساند که غرض از نگارش این نامه، تقاضای تجدیدنظر در پرونده تعدادی از شهروندان نوجوان و جوان ایرانی است که طی سنوات گذشته در دادگاه متهم به عمل لواط شده و از سوی مقامات قوه محترمه قضاییه به اعدام محکوم گردیده اند.

نکته قابل توجه در اکثر پرونده های ذیل این است که، قضات محترم دادگاه بر خلاف نص مواد 114 تا 126 قانون مجازات اسلامی، و تنها با استناد به اعترافات اولیه متهمان که در زمان بازپرسی و تحت آزار و اذیت صورت میگیرد و یا به استناد ادعای شاکی (و بدون داشتن 4 شاهد عادل) ، حکم اعدام متهمان را صادر مینمایند. این در حالی است که مطابق ماده 116 قانون مجازات اسلامی، در مورد لواط ” اقرار در صورتي نافذ است كه اقرار كننده بالغ ، عاقل ، مختار و داراي قصد باشد .” مضافا اینکه ماده 118 قانون مجازات اسلامی مقرر میدارد که ” با شهادت كمتر از ‌چهار مرد عادل لواط ثابت نميشود و شهود به قذف محكوم ميشوند‌”.

بعلاوه مکررا مشاهده گردیده است که در غیاب ادله کافی، دادگاه “علم قاضی” را مبنای صدور حکم اعدام برای محکومین به لواط قرار میدهد. هرچند در پرونده های مرتبط با لواط، علم قاضی میتواند بعنوان ادله مورد استناد قرار گیرد، ماده 120 قانون مجازات اسلامی مقرر میدارد که علم قاضی باید “از طرق متعارف حاصل شود”. با توجه به فقدان مدارک و شواهد در این پرونده ها، معلوم نیست قضات محترم از کدام طریق متعارفی علم خود را بدست آورده اند.

از جمله این پرونده های اعدام، میتوان به موارد زیر اشاره نمود:

1. آقای قاسم بشکول فرزند عزیزالله متولد 1363 که در تاریخ 10/3/1386 با قرار بازداشت از سوی شعبه‌ی یک کیفری استان اردبیل به اتهام لواط به عنف روانه‌ی زندان اردبیل شد. قاضی محترم پرونده، آقای بشکول و دوست وی را علی رغم عدم وجود ادله متقن به اتهام “لواط به عنف” به اعدام محکوم نمود و متهمان پرونده اکنون در زندان بسربرده و در صورت عدم الغای حکم اعدامشان، به طناب دار آویخته خواهند شد.

2. مطابق مندرجات نشریه اینترنتی “روز آنلاین” در اول اسفند سال 1387 ، شعبه چهارم دادگاه کيفري استان فارس، فردی را بدلیل ارتکاب عمل لواط به اعدام از طریق پرتاب از کوه محکوم نمود. متعاقب باخبر شدن شاکي پرونده از چنين حکمي، وی رسما اعلام نمود که موضوع شکايتش به کلي منتفي بوده و ‏ ضمن رضايت دادن، درخواست مختومه کردن پرونده را مي نماید. اما دادگاه محترم با این ادله که با توجه به جنبه حق الهي در پرونده لواط، ‏رضايت شاکي برای مختومه نمودن پرونده کافي نيست، حکم به اعاده دادرسي این پرونده مینماید.‏ پرونده مذکور علیرغم وجود شاکی خصوصی همچنان مفتوح بوده و متهم همچنان در انتظار حکم دادگاه میباشد.

3. قضات محترم شعبه دوم دادگاه كيفري استان آذربايجان شرقي چهار نفر به نامهاي حميد طاقی، ابراهيم حمیدی، مهدي پوران (که مطابق اتهامات وارده در زمان ارتکاب عمل 17 سال بیشتر نداشته) و محمد رضایی را به اتهام لواط به استناد علم قاضي در خرداد ماه سال هشتاد و هفت به اعدام محكوم نمودند . متهمین فوق الذکر در حال حاضر در زندان تبریز بوده ودر انتظار تقاضای تجدید نظر در حکم صادره از سوی دیوان عالی کشور به سر میبرند.

مطابق اظهارات وکیل متهمین، این چهار نفر ساعاتی پس از درگیری با چهار جوان که مشغول تخريب زمين كشاورزي متعلق به پدر ابراهيم بودند، از سوی نیروهای انتظامی دستگیر شدند. دستگیری متهمان پس از آن صورت گرفت که جوان 19 ساله‌ای به نام حجت ، که یکی از افراد مشغول به تخریب زمین کشاورزی و دارای سابقه دشمنی خانوادگی با متهمین بود، با مراجعه به پلیس مدعی شد كه این چهار نفر با او درگیرشده و سپس به او تعرض جنسی كرده‌اند. آقایان طاقی، حمیدی، پوران و رضایی میگویند ماموران پلیس سه روز آنها را در کلانتری محل مورد شکنجه و ضرب و شتم قرار دادند تا آنها به “عمل لواط” اعتراف کنند. نیروهای انتظامی حتی پیشنهاد دادند که ” اگر يك نفر از شما اين كار را گردن بگيرد يك نفر شما به زندان خواهد رفت و بقيه شما آزاد می شوید “. علیرغم تداوم ضرب و شتم و فشار پلیس، هیچ یک از دستگیر شدگان به انجام عمل لواط اعتراف ننمودند.

دادگاه ابتدایی با صدور قرار 10 ميليون توماني به عنوان وثيقه برای آزادی موقت متهمین موافقت مینماید، اما چهار متهم نامبرده بدلیل نداشتن مبلغ لازم 28 روز را در زندان سپری نمودند. در تاريخ 20/3/87 دادگاه رسیدگی به این پرونده تشکیل جلسه داد و متهمان پرونده بر بیگناهی خود تاکید کردند. اما معاون دادستان بر اساس اتهام عمل لواط، برای متهمین تقاضای اعدام کرد.

شعبه دوم دادگاه كيفري استان آذربايجان شرقي پس از گذشت سه ماه از تشكيل پرونده با استناد به علم قاضي در تاریخ 30/4/1387حكم به اعدام اين چهار نفر داده است. به گفته وکیل پرونده، شاکی در تمام مراحل دادرسی اعلام کرده بود که شاهدی برای اثبات ادعای خود ندارد ، ولی وی در آخرین جلسه دادگاه سه نفر از اقوام خود را به عنوان شاهد معرفی و آنها نیز شهادت کذب به زیان متهمان پرونده می دهند.

4. در بهمن ماه سال 1377 دوجوان به نامهاي “حمزه چاوي” 19 ساله و “لقمان حمزه پور” 18 ساله در شهرستان سردشت به دليل ارتکاب لواط بازداشت شدند و متاسفانه تا کنون از وضعیت آنها اطلاعی در دست نیست.

5. مطابق اطلاع ما، محسن قبرایی، نوجوان شیرازی از سوی دادگاه به اتهام انجام عمل لواط به اعدام محکوم گردید و مدتی پیش نیز حکم اعدام وی از سوی دیوان عالی کشور تنفیذ گردید. وی همواره بر بیگناهی خود اصرار داشته و حتی مطابق پرونده دادگاه، اتهام لواط وی به زمانی برمیگردد که وی هنوز به سن بلوغ نرسیده بود. با اینهمه چنانچه حکم دادگاه نقض نشود، محسن بزودی اعدام خواهد شد.

6. آقای نعمت صفوي ، فرزند اکبر و متولد سال 1368 هجری خورشیدی، در سال 1385 در سن 16 سالگي به دليل ارتکاب عمل لواط بازداشت و پس از محاکمه در دادگاه اطفال از سوي دادگستري اردبيل به اعدام محکوم گرديد . پس از بیش از32 ماه حبس، سرانجام در تاریخ 14 اسفند سال 1387 دیوان عالی کشور حکم اعدام وی را رد نمود و پرونده وی اکنون برای اعاده دادرسی به شعبه هم ارز اعاده شده است. پرونده آقای صفوی، هنوز مفتوح بوده و احتمال محکومیت اعدام وی بدلیل اتهام لواط در زمانی که وی هنوز به سن بلوغ نرسیده بود، وجود دارد.

رهبر معظم نظام جمهوری اسلامی،

حضرتعالی بعنوان بالاترین مقام سیاسی و مذهبی در ایران، میتوانید از اختیارات قانونی و حقوقی خود استفاده کرده و تقاضای تعلیق یا تنسیخ احکام دادگاه را نموده، یا خواستار اعاده دادرسی در این موارد گردید. ما از آن مقام معظم صمیمانه تقاضا داریم که از قدرت قانونی خود بهره جسته و جان این شهروندان بیگناه را از خطر مرگ نجات دهد.

بعقیده ما مجازات اعدام، خصوصا در موارد مربوط به تجاوز به عنف، مجازاتی ناعادلانه و نامتناسب با ماهیت جنحه است. مطابق نظر کمیسیون حقوق بشر سازمان ملل متحد، کشتن افراد بدلیل انجام عمل همجنسگرایانه { که در قوانین جزایی ایران از آن بعنوان لواط نام برده میشود} نقض ماده 6 ميثاق بين المللي حقوق مدني و سياسي میباشد. بعلاوه کمیسیون حقوق بشر سازمان ملل مقرر میدارد که قتل کسانی که عاقل و بالغ بوده و با اختیار تام خود در خلوت با یکدیگر رابطه همجنسگرایانه برقرار میکنند، ناقض ماده 17 و 26 کنوانسیون فوق میباشد. ماده 9 قانون مدني جمهوری اسلامی ایران مقرر میدارد که « مقررات عهودي كه بر طبق قانون اساسي بين دولت ايران و ساير دول منعقد شده باشد در حكم قانون است». از آنجا که ميثاق ياد شده در سال 1354 به تصويب مجلس شورای ملی رسيده و تاكنون نيز قانوني مخالف با اين بند ميثاق وضع نشده، حکم اعدام برای عمل لواط، هم ناقض ميثاق بين المللي حقوق مدني و سياسي و هم ناقض قانون مدنی جمهوری اسلامی ایران است .

در برخی از موارد فوق، متهمان پرونده ، بدلیل ارتکاب عملی که بعنوان یک طفل و قبل از رسیدن به سن بلوغ صورت گرفته است به اعدام محکوم گردیده اند. این امر خلاف مقررات حقوقی وبین المللی است. ماده 49 قانون مجازات اسلامی مقرر میدارد که ” اطفال درصورت ارتكاب جرم مبري از مسووليت كيفري هستند”. مطابق بند 5 ماده 6 ميثاق بين المللي حقوق مدني و سياسي: «حكم مجازات مرگ نبايد براي جرم‌هايي كه افراد زير 18 سال مرتكب شده اند صادر شود». ماده 9 قانون مدني جمهوری اسلامی ایران مقرر میدارد که « مقررات عهودي كه بر طبق قانون اساسي بين دولت ايران و ساير دول منعقد شده باشد در حكم قانون است». از آنجا که ميثاق ياد شده در سال 1354 به تصويب مجلس شورای ملی رسيده و تاكنون نيز قانوني مخالف با اين بند ميثاق وضع نشده، بنابر اين حکم اعدام اطفال زیر 18 سال، هم ناقض ميثاق بين المللي حقوق مدني و سياسي و هم ناقض قانون مدنی جمهوری اسلامی ایران است .

جدای از قوانین و تعهدات بین المللی که جمهوری اسلامی ایران بدانها پایبند است ، بسیاری از علمای معظم شیعه، از جمله آیات اعظام صانعی و محقق داماد، حکم مجازات اعدام برای جرایم جنسی را در زمان غیبت امام معصوم لازم الاجرا نمی دانند.

پیشاپیش از مساعدت معظم له برای حل عاجل این پرونده ها سپاسگذارم و عاجزانه خواهشمندم ترتیبی اتخاذ فرمایید تا در آینده نزدیک شاهد لغو مجازات اعدام برای همه جرایم جنسی، خصوصا عمل لواط، باشیم.

با تقدیم احترامات فائقه


– حضرت آیت الله آملی لاریجانی ریاست محترم قوه قضائیه جمهوری اسلامی ایران

– جناب آقاي منوچهر متكي وزير محترم امور خارجه جمهوري اسلامي ايران


raped-in-iranPhoto: Iran Arrested, Beaten and Raped: an Iran Protester’s Tale

New Prison-Rape Allegations In Iran Bring Practice To Light

By Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty

August 26, 2009
By Golnaz Esfandiari

Allegations of prison authorities’ use of rape as a means of punishment or intimidation in the Islamic republic are nothing new.

But for the first time, a high-profile figure in the Islamic establishment has acknowledged the apparent rise in the practice, and is calling for an investigation.

Former parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi was a losing reformist candidate for president in Iran’s contentious June 12 election, but in the aftermath has strengthened his position as a leading opposition figure by taking a number of stances that make the regime uncomfortable.

None has been more controversial than his revelation in a letter published earlier this month to former President and Assembly of Experts head Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani that a number of protesters, women and young boys alike, detained in the postelection unrest had been subjected to brutal rapes.

Calling for an investigation, Karrubi urged Rafsanjani to bring the issue up with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Graphic Testimony

Hard-liners were quick to attack Karrubi, calling for his prosecution for “libeling the system” unless he could prove the allegations. In response, Karrubi has upped the ante, publishing on his website a graphic account of the rape of a young male detainee.

The individual says in the account, published this week, that he was nearly beaten to death and raped. “Worse than all of that, they did something to me that even unbelievers and idol worshipers would denounce.”

Karrubi has also handed the names of four individuals who say they were raped in prison to a special parliamentary commission that is in charge of investigating the postelection unrest.

A member of the parliamentary commission, who did not want to be named, was quoted on August 26 by the “Parlemannews” website as saying that it’s clear that some detainees were raped with batons and bottles.

And Karrubi’s son told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda on August 25 that his father will present other rape cases to parliament in the future.

Long History Of Abuse

Abdol Karim Lahidji, the deputy director of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights, describes Karrubi’s move as very significant.

He says his organization has been condemning rape in Iran’s prisons in its annual reports to United Nations human rights bodies, “but now a well-known figure in the Islamic republic who has twice been parliament speaker and a presidential candidate, has not only spoken about it but he has identified several victims and called on the parliament to give them protection.”

Lahidji says that if the victims are given protection, then the investigation might lead to some results.

Lahidji, who has been monitoring human rights in Iran for three decades, says that over the years he’s received a number reports about political prisoners being raped by their interrogators.

“Unfortunately, in the 1980s we used to receive a lot of news about girls being raped in prison before being executed,” he says.

Lahidji says that he also personally dealt with rape cases following the student uprising of 1999; “one of the students whom I interviewed in Europe said many of the boys had been raped in prison.”

Unseen Wounds

Monireh Baradaran is a former political prisoner who has published a prison memoir about her nine years in prison from 1981 to 1991. She tells RFE/RL she met a girl in prison who had become mentally ill after being raped by her interrogator.

“She was then a beautiful, 16-year-old girl. She wouldn’t talk, she was silent all the time , but I had heard from people close to her including her sister, who was also in jail, that she had been raped,” Baradaran says.

“She was in total silence; she would distance herself from others.”

Baradaran says rape is used as a torture method intended to crush detainees’ spirit.

Azar Ale Kanaan, a former political prisoner, says the memories of her rape some 20 years ago in a prison in Sanandaj are still unbearable. Her interrogator, who had promised to break her down, raped her while her hands were tied and she was blindfolded.

Video interview with Azar Ale Kanaan by well-known Iranian filmmaker Reza Allamezadeh (English subtitles):

“I knew he was my enemy and my enemy has done this to me, the enemy has touched me, raped me. Even when he was lashing me, it was a rape in a sense,” Ale Kanaan says.

“But I could deal with the lashes and cable much easier than this because the physical pain of lashes goes away after a while , but the pain of rape, the pain of those dirty hands touching me…. For me, remembering it is like…like a mother in front of whom her only dearest child is killed.”

Breaking The Silence

Former political prisoner Nasrin Parvaz says many of those who endured rape in Iranian prisons, women and men alike, choose to remain silent.

She says she personally knows three men now living in Britain who were raped in Iranian prisons. She adds that for some reason they won’t speak about it, “and I don’t judge them. It has to do with the society’s culture.”

Parvaz says one of the three men was raped 12 years ago while the case of the other two is two years old. She adds that they have not only been damaged psychologically, but one of them is still being treated for “physical damage.”

Iran’s Writers Association has said in a statement that torturers who use rape play on their victims’ sense of shame. The group has praised rape victims who have had the courage to come forward about their experience, and has characterized the disclosure of rape as commitment to freedom of expression.

Former political prisoner and artist Soudabeh Ardavan says that during the ’80s “social and political conditions” were not appropriate for rape victims to talk about their experience.

“We have many of these cases that are still hidden,” she says. “Some of my friends are reaching, after 30 years, a stage where they slowly start to talk about what happened to them [ in detention].”

But Ardavan sees the recent revelations as a positive sign, in the sense that the problem is out in the open.

Observers say the Islamic republic’s legitimacy has already been severely damaged as the result of the postelection crisis. The supreme leader has been publicly challenged and a rift in the country’s leadership has widened. There have been reports of peaceful protesters being shot dead, and prisoners brutally tortured.

And with the recent allegations of rape, the Islamic establishment — whose officials claim to rule the country based on moral and religious values — faces another severe test.

As Karrubi wrote in his letter to Rafsanjani on August 9, if any of the allegations of rape proved to be true it would be a tragedy for the establishment.

Radio Farda broadcaster Elahe Ravanshad contributed to this report

Full Article


Great news from Nicaragua – the Legislative Assembly just passed a new version of the penal code without the sodomy prohibition; in other words, they’ve just decriminalized sodomy in Nicaragua!

The new penal code should come into effect in March next year. Here’s one report in English about the reform:
So well-done to everyone who organized protests, visited the Nicaraguan ambassadors and sent letters over these last two years. We’ll never know how much effect all these campaigns actually had, but at least the final result is what we wanted; another domino down in the long campaign to decriminalize sodomy around the world.
This also means that Latin America is now pretty much free of sodomy laws, although it seems there are still some dormant sodomy laws on the books in a couple of Latin American countries as far as we can tell.
The one disappointing element in all this is that, despite the victory for LGBT rights, the new Nicaraguan Penal Code maintains a total ban on abortion.
Well, it’s a great joy to deliver good news for once! Congratulations again to everyone for a sustained, timely and ultimately effective campaign. I think champagne could be in order!
Tony Pitman
Amnesty International Mexico


Saudi protest over torture of gays – 7,000 lashes for ‘sodomy’ could kill
Demo at Saudi Embassy in London

London – 19 October 2007

Fifty people picketed the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London today, 19
October, in protest at the flogging and execution of gay people.

To download free use photos of the protest, click here:

On the 2 October, two young men in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Bahah were convicted of ‘sodomy’ and sentenced to 7,000 lashes. In Saudi Arabia same-sex relations are illegal and the maximum penalty is death.

“7,000 lashes is a form of torture, calculated to cause maximum, prolonged suffering,” said protester Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group OutRage!

“So many lashes can be fatal, depending on how many are delivered at any one time,” he said.

The London protest was organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) LGBT campaign, with the support of OutRage!

The protest came just over a week ahead of the State Visit to the UK of the Saudi tyrant, King Abdullah bin Abdul Azaz al Saud.

“As well as flogging and executing gay people, the Saudi leaders are guilty of detention without trial, torture and the public beheading women who have sex outside of marriage,” said Peter Tatchell.

“The Saudis import migrant workers to do menial tasks. They are treated like de facto slaves, frequently abused and with few rights. The media is heavily censored. Trade unions, political parties and non-Muslim religions are banned. The country is a theocratic police state.

“The British and US governments support the despotic, corrupt Saudi regime. Labour sells the Saudi leaders arms and honours them with state visits. It refuses asylum to gay Saudis who flee persecution and seek refuge in the UK,” he said.

“The Saudi leaders should be shunned until they stop their homophobic persecution and their many other human rights abuses,” said fellow OutRage! protester, Brett Lock.

“Next week’s State Visit by King Abdullah should be cancelled. Gordon Brown and The Queen should not be welcoming to Britain the head of a corrupt, tyrannical regime.

“We urge international solidarity to support the Saudi people’s struggle for democracy and human rights, in the same way that the world mobilised to support the struggle against apartheid in South Africa,” said Mr Lock.

This view was echoed by NUS protest organiser, Scott Cuthbertson:
“We call on individuals and groups, LGBT or otherwise, to protest against the continued criminalisation, imprisonment, torture and murder of LGBT people in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“We handed in a letter of protest to the Saudi Ambassador, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, calling on his Government to respect the human rights of its own LGBT citizens. Please join us in the struggle for Love without Borders – LGBT rights around the world – and make your views known to the Saudi Ambassador,” he added.

“This year NUS LGBT Campaign is campaigning for ‘Love without Borders'”, said Claire Anderson, the NUS LGBT Officer and co-organiser of the protest.

“Around the world, LGBT people are persecuted, imprisoned and even murdered in state-sponsored homophobia. We live in a global community and no longer can we stand by while LGBT people are persecuted. Now is the time to use our freedom to fight for the rights of others across the globe. When abuses of human rights take place we must not be silent,” she said.

Contact phone number:
Claire Anderson NUS 07845 605152
Peter Tatchell OutRage! 020 7403 1790
Read also: Saudi Arabia: 7,000 Lashes for Sodomy

5th October 2007 13:15 writer

Two men have been publicly flogged in Saudi Arabia after being found guilty of sodomy and sentenced to 7,000 lashes.

The men, who have not been identified, received an unspecified number of lashes in the south-western city of Al-Bahah on Tuesday evening, according to a report from the Al-Okaz daily.

The men will remain in prison until the rest of their punishment can be completed.

In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is illegal under sharia, or Islamic Law.

The maximum sentence it carries is the death penalty and this is most commonly performed by public beheading.

Gay rights are not recognised in the kingdom and the publication of any material promoting them is banned for its “un-Islamic” themes.

With strict laws restricting unmarried opposite-sex couples, however, and public displays of affection accepted between men, some Westerners have suggested that sharia encourages homosexuality.

Last April, a court in Saudi Arabia sentenced two Saudis, one Yemeni and a Jordanian to two years in jail and 2,000 lashes after a police raid on an alleged gay party.

Lashing can provoke internal hemorragy and death.