Monday, July 12 2010
Following a dispute between two families on 2008 Ebrahim Hamidi’s execution orders was issued for the third time last week in the city of Tabriz, Azarbijan, Mohamad Mustafaei, lawyer of juveniles sentenced to execution reported in his letter to the public.
Mr. Mustafaei published a report at the time about the procedures of the arrest and initial interrogations which resulted in the first execution order.
Based on false allegations a young man will be executed
This case was reported to the public two years ago by Mr. Mohamad Mustafaei who is a lawyer. His account of the case indicates that a young man along with three of his friends were engaged in a dispute between two families and was accused by the son of one family of attempting sexual harassment during the fight. The four of them were arrested based on this allegation and in the initial interrogations they were tortured and pressured to confess to the crime. Ebrahim Hamidi signed his confession sheet to stop his torture; he was hanged from his legs and beaten during interrogations. According to his lawyer, and the three friends who witnessed the beatings, he confessed to the crime he did not commit. All four were tried in two consecutive provincial criminal courts and were sentenced to execution. During their third trial, three were cleared of charges and Ebrahim was again sentenced to execution. On the third trial, two out of the five judges admitted that none of the accused were guilty of the allegations.
Mr. Mustafaei, in his most recent report on this case last week, wrote: “I have asserted in the past that many of execution cases I took on were flawed to the point that an execution verdict couldn’t possibly be issued. This case too, is one of those cases where an innocent person is ordered to be executed.”
Based on Mr. Mustafaei’s report, all four plaintive were pressured during the initial interrogations to choose one among themselves, who would confess to the crime and go to jail, and the rest only appear in court as witnesses, but the four young men did not accept it. At the end, Ebrahim Hamidi singed the confession sheet to end the torture and was sentenced to be hanged. Mustafai explains further that the plaintiff retracted his allegations and signed a statement at the police station indicating there was no sexual harassments against him, and that he made accusations under his parent’s pressure. Even though the initial allegations were retracted by the accuser, and the lawyer pointed-out flaws and failings in the case, Ebrahim Hamidi was still sentenced to be executed.
Criminalization of homosexuals is a crime
Execution is an inhumane and brutal punishment. Execution based on a delusive accusation is unjust. This specific case which is tied, for no reason, to homosexuality, once again indicates that criminalization of homosexuality is harmful to homosexuals’ life and to the society which supports execution of its people.
It must be noted that homosexuality is a natural sexual orientation. Homosexuals of Iran, who are keen in considering moral and ethical measures, strive for their society and culture to realize that their sexual orientation is not a moral or criminal offence. And they reject the indecency of sexual assault, and violation of personal boundaries, whoever committing it.
A homosexual person is a mature and sensible person who favours emotional and sexual bonding based on mutual respect and affection with a person of their own sex; this is a choice based on free will.
Homosexual citizens of Iran come from all walks of life with varied interests and aspirations, and share the respect for religions, norms of secularity, and traditional beliefs of their motherland.
Even though cultural and political pressures have forced our gay and lesbian youth to live in harsh and disadvantaged conditions, many are well educated; possess rich background in fields of civil activity, science, literature, and art; and are dedicated to ethical and family values.
In our opinion, criminalization of homosexuality is the foundation for cruelty not only to the homosexual members but to any member of the society accused falsely of sexual harassment.
Inter-changeability of Sexual harassment with Sexual orientation in Iran’s penal code deprives homosexuals of their rights to enjoy fair and just place in their community. Prison and execution of homosexuals is a punishment that buries not only the individual, or his family, but the whole society in the horror of an inevitable grave fate. According to the penal code, sodomy act is verified by the accused person’s confession of committing the act, four witnesses’ willingness to testify against the accused, or by the Knowledge of the Judge (Elm’e Ghazi) – thus anybody could be pressured to confess, or any four witnesses could have reason to go against an individual, and a judge could be wrong or motivated to serve a wrong sentence.
Our fear for the family and friends of the homosexual living in Iran
One of the great worries we have in the Iranian Queer Organization is the legal vulnerability against gays and lesbians which stems from vague and obscure legal language in Iran’s penal code regarding homosexuality and sexual offenses.
Iranian Queer Organization – IRQO was founded in 2007 in Toronto, Canada; its goal and mission is to support human and civil rights of LGBT in Iran; to spread awareness about sexual orientation and gender identity; also, to enrich social relations between LGBT community and their family, society, and culture. We are committed to support and advocated for those LGBT individuals who are forced to flee their home and their country to escape persecution. IRQO consists of six board members who have been dedicated to remedy the social and cultural conditions of the LGBT community, with respect to the Iranian LGBT community’s points of view.
In IRQO we are deeply alarmed by the execution order for Ebrahim Hamidi, who has been accused not of homosexuality, but of sexual harassment based on a delusive accusation, without any evidence, and on the Judge’s Knowledge.
We would like to request the Judiciary of Iran to annul the verdict.
We would like to draw people and families’ attention to the danger caused by a flawed case to our children’s life.
We would also like to draw attention to the dangers of criminalizing homosexuality – that holds no similarity with moral and criminal offences- could bring upon all citizens who could be considered as one.
IRQO invites people to support Ebrahim Hamidi and also those individuals who are sentenced to execution because of their sexual orientation, to a fair trial and investigating sessions free of pressure and torture.
At present, a number of young men who are our youth and family-members are in jails of Iran awaiting death-row because of their sexual orientation. These young men have been arrested and tried in their teens. Four of these individuals have been mentioned by name in the Persian Human Rights media belonged to the human rights groups in Iran. Three of them are still in jail and one was executed two years ago, according to his state-appointed lawyer.
We, the homosexual community of Iran, are deeply concerned with general mental and physical condition of these men. Few of Iranian homosexual refugees recounted the tortures they endured in jail to confess to sodomy act both to IRQO and the Human Rights Watch representative. Based on these interviews, they were harshly tortured by their interrogators and raped repeatedly by the inmates. One of the refugees specified that the confession sheet was signed by his interrogator because his own hands were totally numb, wounded as result of beatings and being hanged by the wrists. These refugees assert that they did not commit a crime, did not rape anybody, and did not have any relationships outside moral and humane measures.
Islamic Penal Code: Homosexuality Chapter
According to articles 221-18 and 221-19 Lavat (Sodomy) is the insertion of the tip of the male organ in the anus of a male person, even if it is a corpse. Punishment for active partner in case the act is considered forced or by a married man, is death. And if the active partner is not married, the punishment is one hundred lashes, and the punishment for Lavat (Sodomy) for the passive partner, in case he is mature and of sane mind and the act was not forced on him, is death.
Our concern is that since the penal code considers homosexuality a crime, and blurs boundaries between homosexuality and sexual assault, the shield of security and safety of individuals and families is thus harmed and at any time homosexual or non-homosexual individuals could be jailed and hanged by crimes they have not committed.
We request the judicial system of Iran to annul this latest execution order and reconsider the crimes related to homosexuality and so bring back security and assurance to families, as a society’s peace is disturbed if people live in a state of fear and insecurity. The harm is deepened if it is spread to reach the main body of a society which is the general public. Uncertainty and lack of trust to the foundations of human and civil rights, and lack of dependability to the precision and sensitivity of the judicial system in guarding these rights and protecting security measures, makes life intolerable for all citizens not only for the ones condemned to capital punishment.
We would like to request Iranian families to contact Iran’s judicial authorities and strongly protest the execution order for Ebrahim Hamidi, who is falsely condemned with the delusive accusation, and to the hanging of homosexuals.
Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, the legal code has been based on a conservative interpretation of Islamic Shari’a law.
All sexual relations that occur outside of a traditional, heterosexual marriage (i.e. sodomy or adultery) are illegal and no legal distinction is made between consensual or non-consensual sexual activity.
Homosexual relations that occur between consenting adults in private is a crime and carry a maximum punishment of death. Teenage boys as young as fifteen are eligible for the death penalty. Approved by the Islamic Republic Parliament on 30/7/1991 and finally ratified by the High Expediency Council on 28/11/1991, articles 108 through 140 distinctly talk about homosexuality and its punishments in detail.
Sodomy is a crime for which both partners can be punished by death. If the participants are adults, of sound mind and consenting, then the method of execution is for the Shari’a judge to decide.
A non-adult who engages in consensual sodomy is subject to a punishment of 74 lashes–Articles 108 to 113.
Sodomy is proved either if a person confesses four times to having committed sodomy or by the testimony of four righteous men. Testimony of women alone or together with a man does not prove sodomy–Articles 114 to 119.
“If sodomy, or the lesser crimes referred to above, are proved by confession, and the person concerned repents, the Shari’a judge may request that he be pardoned. If a person who has committed the lesser crimes referred to above repents before the giving of testimony by the witnesses, the punishment is quashed”–Articles 125 and 126.
The punishment for female homosexuality involving persons who are mature, of sound mind, and consenting, is 100 lashes. If the act is repeated three times and punishment is enforced each time, the death sentence will apply on the fourth occasion–Articles 127, 129, 130.
Ways of proving lesbianism in court are the same as those for male homosexuality–Article 128. Non-Muslim and Muslim alike are subject to punishment–Article 130. The rules for the quashing of sentences, or for pardoning, are the same as for the lesser male homosexual offences–Articles 132 and 133. Women who “stand naked under one cover without necessity” and are not relatives, are punished by up to 100 lashes–Article 134.
Saghi Ghahraman – President
Iranian Queer Organization – IRQO
+416 407 5451