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Nov 01, 2007 News: Abolish Capital Punishment in Iran
By Arsham Parsi

(Iran) - Makwan Moloudzadeh, a 21 year old Iranian now faces the threat of execution. His crime is his sexuality, which is illegal under the Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many have been executed for sexual crimes such as extramarital and homosexual sex acts. Due to the legal processes and procedures of the Judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its complete lack of transparency, it is extremely difficult to access the documents, witnesses, testimonies, and other facts pertinent to the files of those accused, as a result of which it is almost impossible to verify the confessions, complaints,
evidence, and verdicts.

In recent years numerous individuals have been executed because of their sexual and private relations in Mashhad, Gorgan, Arak, Kermanshah, and Tehran, many of whom were under the legal age. Despite the current circumstances under which the Iranian Queer Organization, due to inaccessibility of evidence and testimonies regarding these cases, cannot prove homosexuality of those executed beyond a doubt, we believe that the true crime in these executions was sexual relationship (which is not confirmed by the Iranian government). The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran punishes those with different sexual orientation and sexual relations by death.

According to the Penal Code of the Islamic Republic, four witnesses are required in order to prove the perpetration of lavat (sodomy) which is punishable by death. Western states reject asylum claims of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Iranians due to their assumption that it is almost impossible to have four witnesses. The truth is that when private spaces of LGBT Iranians are raided by the police, there are four clerics and video cameras already present. Moreover, a judge can use his own knowledge to rule on a case regarding lavat; the alleged perpetrators may confess to lavat under torture; and medical examinations can prove whether an individual has had anal penetration.

In Makwan Moloudzadeh case, the judge has ruled based on his own knowledge that Makwan Moloudzadeh had committed lavat in accordance with article 120 of the Iranian Penal Code. This is despite the fact that even internal rulings of Iranian authorities, including the fatwa of Ayatollah Sane’i and other clerics who are source of emulation state that a judge’s knowledge cannot be used as a basis to prove crimes punishable by hadd usually capital punishment. Through carrying out such executions, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran not only violates the most basic international human rights standards, it also undermines the rulings and fatwas of Islamic clerics and sources of emulation who are recognized by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Iranian Queer Organization demands the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to abolish death penalty and punish the accused and perpetrators according to minimum international human rights standards.

- Amnesty International Urgent Action: Death penalty/imminent execution/Makwan Moloudzadeh

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