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Barbarians, Barbaric Societies
That's what the terrorists seek to turn ours into -- a mirror of their fundamentalist sickness. In Iran, two gay teenagers -- one 18, the other thought to be 16 or 17 -- were executed by hanging this week, reported the Iranian Student News Agency. Their report was translated from Farsi into English by Outrage!, a British gay rights group -- and includes so unbelievably chilling photos of the two boys, just prior to execution (more at the Doug Ireland link above, excerpted below):

Consensual gay sex in any form is punishable by death in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the website Age of Consent, which monitors such laws around the world, in Iran "Homosexuality is illegal, those charged with love-making are given a choice of four deathstyles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch.

...In the case of the two teens hanged in Mashhad, "They admitted having gay sex (probably under torture) but claimed in their defense that most young boys had sex with each other and tdhat they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death," according to the ISNA report as translated by OutRage. "Prior to their execution, the gay teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes. The length of their detention suggests that they committed the so-called offenses more than a year earlier, when they were possibly around the age of 16."

"Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the younger of the two boys, had appealed that he was too young to be executed and that the court should take into account his tender age (believed to be 16 or 17). But the Supreme Court in Tehran Ordered him to be hanged." As a state party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were under the age of 18 -- which means that by hanging the two youths Iran is in violation of international law.The Iranian authorities are putting out a cover story that the two boys had participated in the rape of a 13-year-old, but OutRage affirms from its sources that this accusation is a smokescreen for inhuman conduct and is without foundation. However, the Murdoch press (e.g., the Times of London) is putting about the Iranian government's story as a virtual statement of fact. But there is no mention of this Iranian government accusation in the original ISNA report, otherwise quite detailed.-- which rather suggests it's a recent invention. Furthermore, it is hardly surprising that, at the very moment at which Iran is engaged in the most delicate negotiation with the Western powers over nuclear materials -- the outcome of which will have a profound impact on the Iranian economy --the Iranian government, when caught in a heinous act of barbarity that is also a violation of Iran's commitments under international law -- should try to find a new excuse for the inexcusable.

Left-click on the third photo above and look at the enlarged version, which shows the younger of the two adolescents weeping as he's carried off in a police van to the end of his young life. Then, if you would like to protest the barbaric hanging of these two lads to whom nature gave same-sex hearts, follow the suggestion of the Human Rights Campaign which -- citing this blog -- has written to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice demanding that she formally protest these executions, which you should do as well. If you want to protest directly to the Iranian government, be aware that, while the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Iran, there is an Iranian embassy in Canada. You may write, telephone, or fax the Iranian ambassador in Canada:Ambassador Seyed Mouhammad Ali Moosavi, Embassy of Iran, 245 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, Ontario .K2P 2K2 Canada Telephone (OO1-613- 235-4726, 233-4726; Fax, 233-5712

Posted by aalkon at July 28, 2005 8:59 AM

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Comments

As per Lena's comment yesterday, it's not that a Summer '05 "Tour of the Oases" from Britney would have made a big difference. But when so much of Iran in particular seems absolutely turgid with a young, sexual love of liberal democracy, this seems like an especially good time for the western world to be showing them (through satellite TV and other venues) just how good it is to enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy... Religious, financial, and sexual.

And no whining about how America isn't perfect either, and the other cultures are just making their own way... When government hangs teenagers for BJs, insolent contrarianism is not appropriate.

Posted by: Crid at July 28, 2005 6:52 AM

Another great post Amy. I had not heard of this, so wanting to learn more, I have been checking out different sites on the subjecy. A really interesting list of the worlds countries and their laws regarding this subject can be found at

http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/List_of_countries_which_permit_or_outlaw_homosexual_behavior

Interesting that our good friends Saudi Arabia and Kuwait still execute for violation of sodomy laws. I thought we freed Kuwait??? Anyhoo...

It will be interesting when the Iraq constitution is finally formed, because it is rumored to be taking a fundamentalist Islamic view on many issues, such as womens rights. I also wonder if persecuted homosexuality is grounds for asylum in the United States- anyone know? Clearly it should be.

Posted by: eric at July 28, 2005 11:36 AM

Ooop- correction. Kuwait only gives 7 years for homosexual acts. Our ally on the war of terror, Pakistan, still executes.

Posted by: eric at July 28, 2005 3:47 PM

Now Eric, you were warned about infantile petulance....

Posted by: Crid at July 28, 2005 4:50 PM

Crid- you are such a pitiful, wanderer.

I am not apologizing for anyone. I am not comparing us to them. I was just relaying information I found interesting in this discussion.

You are always the one who claims that we are in Iraq to right past wrongs, atone our past allegiances to evil dictatorships. Insolent contrarianism may annoy simpletons like yourself, but this was simply rational, objective fact gathering at the moment.

I actually thought you started with a respectable opinion on this- Iran is a teeter totter right now, and how we handle Iran will determine if this whole arena turns out well or an outright bloodbath. No other region I can think of is this sensitive, not even North Korea. (At the moment, but thats a WAAAAAYYYY bigger issue down the road.)

Posted by: eric at July 28, 2005 9:54 PM

Eric - yes, one can get asylum in the U.S. for claims of persecution due to homosexuality in the home country. Although each claim of persecution has to be proven, whatever the type of persecution, it can be a winning argument, particularly if you can demonstrate that the claimant has already been subjected to mis-treatment as a result of being gay, not just that they might be subjected to it because of the state of the law in their home country. I've read that even Mexicans have been known to make that claim occasionally, and their argument is cultural persecution, not legal sanctions.

Posted by: Melissa at July 29, 2005 12:47 PM

Thanks for the info Melissa...

Posted by: eric at July 29, 2005 2:31 PM

You were "gathering facts"?

Posted by: Crid at July 29, 2005 7:56 PM

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