Current Affairs

Report: Gay Youths Hanged in Iran

Wow. I'm sorry for the depressing previous post but this one just breaks my heart. I just received an email from a reader directing me to a blog and then an Iranian website that's in Farsi, so I have no idea if this information is accurate or not, but if it is, it's absolutely chilling. [UPDATE at end of post]

The blogger writes, "I just heard in the news about these two gay teenagers being hanged in public in city of Mashad, one of the northern cities in Iran. Apparently one of the guys was not even 18 years old. According to the article, they spent 14 months in prison and recieved many lashes. They had shown remorse for their action and had no idea getting engaged in homosexual acts will result in death!"


This story, if it's true, and the images that follow after the jump, make everything I've written today seem so trivial. I know there's a place for fun and games, but realizing the oppression and horrors that go on in other parts of the world can really put a perspective on things.

Two more images after the jump (warning: they are disturbing)...



If anyone can confirm the content of the Farsi source article or find a news story in English regarding these young men, please email me.

Gay Iranian Teenagers Hanged [seyd]

UPDATE: Here's one article, but it doesn't mention the charges. (thanks Peter)

Okay, here's another one that mentions the two were convicted of sexual assault on a 13-year-old boy. That sheds some ugly light on the story.

So it's apparent that the two (one a minor himself) had committed a crime other than simply being homosexual themselves. But death? For minors? It leaves me with more questions. In a similar but heterosexual situation, would the youths have been hanged?

It's still clearly excessive punishment and an egregious abuse of human rights.

7/21 UPDATE: This new report suggests that "The allegation of sexual assault may either be a trumped up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths, a frequent tactic by the Islamist regime in Iran. Or, Outrage! Suggests, it may be that the 13 year old was a willing participant but that Iranian law (like UK law) deems that no person of that age is capable of sexual consent and that therefore any sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be a sex assault." It also says that there are three other young gay Iranians being hunted by the police.

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  1. Gee, the "freedom" from worrying about paying for health care. Hummm...

    I have to say that being forced to pay higher taxes to pay for the health care of others I frankly don't give a damn about is not my definition of freedom, no.

    Back to the gay hanging thing, OK, it looks like it was the rape of a 13 year old boy, and not consentual gay sex. But lets keep some facts in mind...Islamic law, which is based on the Koran and other sayings of Mohammed calls for the death penalty for gay sex. And there are six Islamic countries today which officially impose this penalty: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. And a few unofficially, like certain Islamic areas of Nigeria which are now taking up stoning gays to death.

    Number of Judeo-Christian countries which today publicly execute gays based on the Book of Leviticus: ZERO.

    Number of gays executed for homosexuality in Iran since the Islamic Revolution: 4000.

    Oh, and another fun fact for you guys to chew on here: Back in 2001 there were actually EIGHT Islamic countries which officially had the gay death penalty... yep two more than today. So which two were they??? Ready for this....(drum roll)...

    Afganistan and Iraq.

    Yes, those two countries had their tradition of being able to hang homos high, let them dangle slowly in the wind... STRIPPED from them recently by the iron boot of the US military! How culturally insensative of us to do this! How eeevil of Bush and his War on Terror! SOB!

    Posted by: Cassius | Jul 21, 2005 1:40:53 AM

  2. "There are many countries with socialized medicine that forbid private practice, "Canada is one of them, which is why many Canadians cross the border into the states"

    The kindest thing I can say, is that's not quite correct. Canada already has a two-tier system, but as it exists currently the government generally won't fund private care with public monies. That said, there is nothing to stop private clinics from setting up shop to deliver a variety of services. What doesn't as yet occur in Canada is the use of public dollars to fund patient care through the private sector.

    A recent Supreme court decision in Quebec has also ruled that a patients individual rights to receive care entail a right to private care if the government is incapable of supplying care within a reasonable length of time.

    As to the broader argument about Canadian health care, I will say this.

    Yours is a typical condemnation which doesn't take into account the complexities, and advantages of government medicine, and blithely ignores the disadvantages of private US style health care.

    That said, the Canadian system is deeply flawed as it exists currently. It desperately needs more funding and more efficient management (not just private sector reforms, but 'better care' efficient management).

    And your "so that Joe Crackhead can get free syringes" is just ridiculous. My home town of Vancouver has followed the innovative example of cities like Berlin and the Netherlands in setting up free drug centres in sanitized conditions.

    The understanding behind this method of tackling drug problems is that in many cases, drug abuse is a health problem, not necessarily a criminal problem. Its an addiction and like any other other addiction, addicts deserve treatment, not jail.

    Personally I find the empirical data on the Berlin example and the Vancouver example thus far to be far more encouraging than more traditional "crackdown/war on drugs" policies.

    "Care to explain anything else I don't understand"

    Socrates would say, you are an ignorant dumbass for saying the above, and I would agree. Only those who profess complete knowledge are trully ignorant.

    Posted by: Peter Konefal | Jul 21, 2005 1:54:36 AM

  3. Cassius,

    If you think the world is that simple. Think again. Think long and hard. This is not a matter of Islam vs. Christianity. Plenty of quote Christian countries have hung people for equally insubstantial crimes such as being Black or being a "witch."

    And before you go off singing the praises of the war in Iraq--go there. And see what suffering that iron boot of yours is capable of. Evil comes in many forms. Be wary of casting stones. We, as Americans, need not look anywhere but at ourselves to see hatred, racism, fundamentalism, poverty, irrationality and ignorance.

    Quoting facts or spewing numbers doesn't change the fact that we are one world--and within that world homosexuality is a minority. As a result we are faced with a lot of injustice.

    We should all take a moment and think about the boys who have been killed. Think about their pain and suffering. Think about their fear. And we should take all of this in and not respond with our own fears or anger or need to point a finger.

    We should see this injustice and vow that as a group we shall never knowingly be unjust--whether that is through racism, intolerance, xenophobia or plain ignorance. We should vow to be kinder, more understanding and look at the world outside America not as "other" but as a part of us.

    We have been endowed with the ability to look past our circumstances, to understand prejudice and to know what it is like to be different. We should never, ever forget that feeling.

    Posted by: Paul Denton | Jul 21, 2005 2:41:33 AM

  4. The blindfolds are particularly chilling... besides hanging, not to be allowed to see the light of day. But in Saudi Arabia, it would be beheading.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 21, 2005 3:04:09 AM

  5. Paul, um, no, I shall not vow to be kinder and more understanding to parts of the world which executes people for being gay. And I will continue to point the finger at the barbarians who engage in these sort of atrocities. Yes, it really is that simple.

    Posted by: Cassius | Jul 21, 2005 3:15:19 AM

  6. You see? all this is related to the blasts in London and 9/11. so long as we don't seed democracy in the Middle East, we would keep hearing the worst excesses from people there. its not the same as a bunch of assholes kiiling gays in Montana. the law criminalizes homosexuality and allows capital punishment in Iran.

    Posted by: Nik | Jul 21, 2005 4:36:43 AM

  7. andy
    i'm an iranian and i am very shocked and sorry for what has happened.there are many homosexuals in iran and the number is growing and the government knows that.i heard from some sources the reason for this shameful act was raping a minor boy and they had some more charges,also any charges wouldnt justify the hanging.Mahshad is very religious and fundamentalist city in hosts the holiest islamic shrines after mecca and qom and maybe this adds to story.

    Posted by: nwa | Jul 21, 2005 5:38:30 AM

  8. You'll freak out when I say this, but there actually IS a country that is more "free" than the U.S.: South Africa. They have the best constition in the world when it comes to the protection of minorities, hundreds of thousands of homeless and unemployed have thrived in a mere ten years under their current system, and much, much more.

    But what is freedom worth, anyway, when you're free to kill your infant child in Florida for "being gay" or one can get community service hours for grossly violent hate crimes in Texas? Perhaps freedom as a buzzword really isn't worth discussing. In light of the case we're discussing here, perhaps individual potential would be more precise. And perhaps it's not just about government and grinding your own political axes, it's about culture. And if you think America's culture is amongst the world's most "free", then I don't know what to tell you.

    Posted by: Mizez Slocombe | Jul 21, 2005 8:39:47 AM

  9. The freest country? In terms of economic freedom, "Try Estonia. Or Ireland. Or Chile. Or Denmark. Or even Iceland."

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 21, 2005 11:14:29 AM

  10. The freest country in the world is the United States. No set of laws protects people's individual liberties like ours. People like to praise Scandanavian countries for their freedom, but most of them have tax rates that would shock Americans.

    As for these hangings, it's a barbaric form of killing for a barbaric nation. I'm not surprised - just totally disgusted. Makes me glad we invaded Iraq, because this same stuff was going on there.

    Posted by: Cyd | Jul 21, 2005 11:37:32 AM

  11. The various reports of exactly what the crime was that led to the barbaric execution of the two teens in Iran are a question of interpretation. Iran does not have a "free press". The article we used was the reasoned interpretation of the UK gay human rights activist Peter Tatchell who had the Farsi text translated.

    One expects that much of what has been reported is "spin". As the "crime" was committed about 14 or more months ago and the oldest boy was 18 at the time of his execution, he was 16 or 17 at the time of the act of which he was found guilty of.

    The article in English says brings in the 13 years-old aspect, while the Students' News Service does not mention this (in Farsi). IranFocus is based in Paris, while ISNA (The students) is in Iran.

    Remember that we are talking here about a country where a girl can be executed at the age of NINE - and for boys, 15 (so much for equality).

    My personal view is that the introduction of the 13 years-old could well be a 'red herring' in an attempt to "soften" any sanctions on Iran from other countries.

    By all account, the Iranian authorities are furious that the ages have got out to the world - and even more furious that the graphic photographs (which are NOT 'amateur') are all over the internet.

    The two executed boys in Iran were also said to have each been severely beaten with 228 lashes.

    For the record, the following countries punish homosexuality by death. Note that in some countries there are two "laws" (Nigeria and United Arab Emirates, for instance). But where the death penalty is enforced, it is in Sharia Courts.

    Afghanistan: Sharia Courts only - Death by throwing off high building.

    Iran: Sharia Law. Death for same-sex sexual contact; other intimate same-sex contact 100 lashes with possible death for repeat offenders.

    Mauritania: Sharia Law - death (though there is some doubt)

    Nigeria: Sharia Law (northern part of country only). Death by stoning.

    Pakistan: Sharia Law - 100 lashes or death by stoning.

    The Sudan: Sharia Law - 100 lashes for single men, death for married men.

    United Arab Emirates: Penal Code - up to 14 years imprisonment. Sharia Law - death penalty.

    Yemen: Sharia Law

    Posted by: Andy | Jul 21, 2005 12:49:36 PM

  12. I certainly feel much freer living in the United Kingdom than I do in the United States. I miss my home, but over here you suddenly realise that as an individual you can get away with a lot more before people start to assume the worst about you. Why is it so many of open minded Americans turn to the BBC when something big happens in our own country? Hmm, oh yes, we don't have an impartial media that can report as it likes in the face of government opposition.

    Europeans in general don't seem to generate the same volume of hot air as we do either, and some of them have something good going on, so I don't blame them for keeping quiet. Don't even get me started on free speech in America - it's a joke now because of libel - or being excessively politically correct, for that matter. And isn't it nice to receive good quality healthcare without worrying whether you're insured, as is the case back home? Oh, and I pay less tax here on my income than I did in NYC, go figure.

    Arguing that any country is the most free is just too adolescent; what trite and silly nonsense.

    Posted by: Alex | Jul 21, 2005 12:56:28 PM

  13. Many good comments -- and some lousy ones.

    Some of you need to get a major clue about MidEast (and global) culture. Just because men hold hands in MidEast culture has *nothing* to do with sex; It's about friendship.

    Some cultures (thank G-d) are not so obsessed about sex.

    Posted by: rob adams | Jul 21, 2005 1:26:45 PM

  14. I recommend publicly bury suicide bombers (or rather their remains) wrapped in pigskin - that supposedly will make their death ignoble and dishonourable and thus pointless. hell, they hang gays publicly, so why can't we do something to terrorists? with approval of the rest of Muslim community, of course (do not think they will mind)

    Posted by: madlord | Jul 21, 2005 2:32:15 PM

  15. sick sad world.

    Posted by: ryan | Jul 21, 2005 4:12:16 PM

  16. These are the most dispiriting photographs I have ever seen, the kind that jolt you from the denial that human nature is anything other than savage. Woe be unto those helpless Iranian gays. They truly are damned.

    Posted by: Justin | Jul 22, 2005 12:34:31 AM

  17. Andy, I want to thank you for giving this story the best coverage I can find. It's sad that this is getting so little coverage - I find it much more disturbing than all of the Iraqi abductions and executions, and I can't help blaming all the silence on institutionalized homophobia.

    Posted by: ryan | Jul 22, 2005 12:59:03 PM

  18. I blame the silence on political correctness. Shining the spotlight on the appalling Islamic views towards homosexuality makes the War on Terror look better, have a very positive silver lining... and the liberal media powers-that-be can't have that.

    So, this has been largely swept under the rug. Except of course in a few places like this blog, and double the kudos extended to Andy here.

    Posted by: Cassius | Jul 22, 2005 2:39:14 PM

  19. ...and just after I post this, Gaypatriot writes a piece in complete agreement with me:

    Posted by: Cassius | Jul 22, 2005 2:58:49 PM

  20. "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." -Samuel Johnson. There is no denying the evil or horror in those hangings. But get out from under your cloak dude. Stand like a man--not behind country or religion or rightness but behind universal human principals. Two wrongs don't make a right. Killing people in the name of doing right is the biggest load of bullocks throughout time.

    And if you're a Christian then use "love" to combat evil and injustice not anger and fearmongering. I'm not against you Cassius--I just think that we have to see the bigger picture. And that is that fundementalism is wrong. We should not as a world tollerate it. But the majority of the people of the Middle East believe that more than we ever can--because they have to deal with it on a daily basis. We should be against simple minded thugs who rule and abuse these people, but not against the people themselves. People, the world over, for the most part are the same. And we, as Free Americans, should recognize and promote that. Our contempt should be directed at the fundementalist Isalmics not at Islam. That's all.

    Posted by: Paul Denton | Jul 22, 2005 3:17:10 PM

  21. Well we are in agreement then! You say we need to direct contempt against fundamentalist Islamics...and I completely agree! THANK YOU!

    Thats why this hanging story needs to be kept on the front burner, and not quietly swept under the rug as so many anti-war journalists are so desperately trying to do.

    And I want to say I also agree with another point made in that gay patriot atricle... as far as terrorism goes... we are targets. I would not at all be surprised if the next suicide bomber in this country targets a gay nightclub or circuit party or gay pride parade. I can EASILY see this occuring. WE all need to be extra vigilant, and keep an eye out for suspicious characters at our events, acting strangely and fitting the terrorist profile.

    Posted by: Cassius | Jul 22, 2005 3:35:40 PM

  22. Isn't that what straights have done for centuries. "Kept and eye out for suspicious characters at their events, acting strangely and fitting the "homosexual" profile"?

    Posted by: Paul Denton | Jul 22, 2005 4:26:30 PM

  23. some of you guys are so full of shit it's almost funny.I'm gay,have served in the army and have never once felt vitimized or disciminated against.If a straight man calls you a faggot you just knock his fucking teeth out and word spreads quickly that you are one faggot who is not to be fucked with."My country right or wrong"-I prfer the right...but i'll serve the wrong if it keeps my neighbors from having to submit to backwards,heathen ragheads.

    Posted by: Robert | Jul 22, 2005 6:24:32 PM

  24. Cassius -- are you, by any chance, on the White House payroll? Outside of that blessed office, I haven't heard the "liberal media" plowed with such delight -- or seen such bleak what-if scenarios (complete with a cryptic warning about quote-unquote VIGILANCE) hashed out so beautifully. Cheers. But if you're not getting paid, you should be.

    Posted by: Daniel | Jul 22, 2005 11:25:43 PM

  25. Compliment noted!

    Posted by: Cassius | Jul 22, 2005 11:46:04 PM

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