Human Rights

Iranians Arrested for Homosexuality Face Death Penality, as Regime Commits to Hanging Convict for Second Time

Iran executes more people annually than any country except for China. Since the election of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani Iran has maintained a pace of executions set to match last year’s total of roughly 500. A recent column in the Washington Post noted that while Rouhani was at the United Nations General Assembly “more than 30 Iranians were reportedly executed without due process of law.”

Now reports are emerging that a recent raid which saw Iranian authorities round up “a network of homosexuals and Satanists” may result in another wave of executions:

Further details remain murky. Nikmaram said his group did not know exactly how many people would be charged following the Oct. 9 raid by forces associated with the Revolutionary Guard, nor what they would be charged with. Charges of homosexual relations could carry the death penalty. To make matters more complicated, it also remains unclear if those detained were gay or not… Nikmaram expressed concern that those arrested may be forced under torture to say they are gay, which could condemn them to death. “We are extremely worried that some of the detainees might have been forced, under torture (both physical and mental), to confess they are gay,” Nikmaram said.

The controversy comes amid another one related to executions, in which a 37 year old father of two was hanged for 12 minutes and pronounced dead. The diagnosis was premature, and the man later revived. Iranian officials are gearing up to hang him again:

But the judge who issued the sentence, Mohammad Erfan, was unmoved. “The sentence is approved and the sentence is death, so we will follow through with the execution order again,” he said… In a statement issued Wednesday, Amnesty International called for a reprieve. “The horrific prospect of this man facing a second hanging, after having gone through the whole ordeal already once, merely underlines the cruelty and inhumanity of the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

A subsequent statement clarified that the man’s death sentence will be carried out just as soon as “his health condition is good enough.”

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