Gay Activists Alliance International is supporting a Persian Gay and Lesbian Liberators called protest 25 July to mark the fifth anniversary of the execution of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni.
Mahmoud Asgari, 16, (Persian: محمود عسگري) and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, (Persian: عياض مرهوني) were Iranian teenagers from the province of Khuzestan who were publicly hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in Mashhad, northeast Iran, on July 19, 2005. They were executed after being convicted by the court of having raped a 13-year old boy.
The case attracted international media attention. Outrage! said that the teenagers were executed for consensual homosexual acts and not rape. Some people found the photographs of the hanging were deeply disturbing and many human rights activists found them a powerful, emotional indictment of the death penalty.
On July 22, 2005, Amnesty International issued a news release saying:
"According to reports, they were convicted of sexual assault on a 13-year-old boy and had been detained 14 months ago. Prior to their execution, the two were also given 228 lashes each for drinking, disturbing the peace and theft."On July 27, 2007, after researching reports on the hangings, Human Rights Watch released letters to Iran's President and the head of the judiciary. In writing to the Iranian leadership, Human Rights Watch condemned the use of the death penalty in Iran. It stated that the two "were put to death on July 19 after they were found guilty of sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old boy some fourteen months earlier," but did not address whether those charges were accurate. Its public statement noted:
“Death is an inhumane punishment, particularly for someone under eighteen at the time of his crimes,” said Hadi Ghaemi, Iran researcher for Human Rights Watch. “All but a handful of countries forbid such executions. Iran should as well."LGBT rights in Iran since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 have come under governmental persecution, with international human rights groups reporting public floggings and executions of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals.
Reports suggests that LGBT persons are threatened and forced into sex change operations or likely to face torture and/or execution
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking to Columbia University, said that homosexuality does not exist in Iran, though a spokesperson later stated that his comments were misunderstood. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death under the country's theocratic Islamic government. Any type of sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage is forbidden. Gay men are treated far more harshly under the law than lesbians, and some men undergo sex change operations to avoid harsh penalties that include imprisonment and/or execution.
GAAI are asking for you support and solidarity to join us in this event to support our LGBT community, and against the continuing persecution and murder of LGBT persons in Iran.
Sunday, July 25 at 12:00pm to 2:30pm
Embassy of the Islamic Republic Of Iran
16 Princes Gate