Current Affairs

Report: Gay Youths Hanged in Iran

Wow. I'm sorry for the depressing previous post but this one just breaks my heart. I just received an email from a reader directing me to a blog and then an Iranian website that's in Farsi, so I have no idea if this information is accurate or not, but if it is, it's absolutely chilling. [UPDATE at end of post]

The blogger writes, "I just heard in the news about these two gay teenagers being hanged in public in city of Mashad, one of the northern cities in Iran. Apparently one of the guys was not even 18 years old. According to the article, they spent 14 months in prison and recieved many lashes. They had shown remorse for their action and had no idea getting engaged in homosexual acts will result in death!"


This story, if it's true, and the images that follow after the jump, make everything I've written today seem so trivial. I know there's a place for fun and games, but realizing the oppression and horrors that go on in other parts of the world can really put a perspective on things.

Two more images after the jump (warning: they are disturbing)...



If anyone can confirm the content of the Farsi source article or find a news story in English regarding these young men, please email me.

Gay Iranian Teenagers Hanged [seyd]

UPDATE: Here's one article, but it doesn't mention the charges. (thanks Peter)

Okay, here's another one that mentions the two were convicted of sexual assault on a 13-year-old boy. That sheds some ugly light on the story.

So it's apparent that the two (one a minor himself) had committed a crime other than simply being homosexual themselves. But death? For minors? It leaves me with more questions. In a similar but heterosexual situation, would the youths have been hanged?

It's still clearly excessive punishment and an egregious abuse of human rights.

7/21 UPDATE: This new report suggests that "The allegation of sexual assault may either be a trumped up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths, a frequent tactic by the Islamist regime in Iran. Or, Outrage! Suggests, it may be that the 13 year old was a willing participant but that Iranian law (like UK law) deems that no person of that age is capable of sexual consent and that therefore any sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be a sex assault." It also says that there are three other young gay Iranians being hunted by the police.

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  1. this is so horrible and heartbreaking. no words can express the grief I have of our inhumanity to each other...

    Posted by: David | Jul 20, 2005 4:55:14 PM

  2. I fired off an email to my buddy who learned Farsi at the Defense Language Institute.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 20, 2005 4:59:50 PM

  3. I sent the link to my niece, whose husband is from Pakistan, and speaks Farsi. I'll forward their reply.

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 20, 2005 5:06:53 PM

  4. People get killed the world over for being gay. Whether it's in the middle east or in Montana.

    Posted by: Paul Denton | Jul 20, 2005 5:08:41 PM

  5. I first read about it this morning on Andrew Sullivan's blog. Its all true.

    Posted by: Cassius | Jul 20, 2005 5:09:27 PM

  6. Dear God... savages... whether it's fundamentalist muslims in the middle east or fundamentalist christians in Montana... they're all savages. How truly heartbreaking.

    Posted by: Brian | Jul 20, 2005 5:24:13 PM

  7. Wow. It's scary to read about that. I also find it fascinating looking through this blog how we balance between these awful and brutal stories and then people like David Beckham. Talk about extremes...

    Posted by: Shawn | Jul 20, 2005 5:46:02 PM

  8. I'm curious Brian if you'd feel safer in a church in the south or a mosque in the middle east?

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 20, 2005 5:59:15 PM

  9. To compare the freest (albeit imperfect) society in the world to the islamo-fascist regime of Iran is beyond appalling. It borders on psychosis.

    Thank you for posting these images, Andy. We must never forget to value what we have -- and to fight for liberty EVERYWHERE in the world, not just here at home.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 20, 2005 6:28:31 PM

  10. Madge Weinstein at Yeast Radio says:

    UPDATE: I’m not sure what the real story is here According to this story, the men were actually hanged for raping a 13 year old boy. Can anyone read farsi and provide more information?

    Posted by: Mizez Slocombe | Jul 20, 2005 6:32:49 PM

  11. Minor women are routinely raped in Muslim countries. Even it true, they wouldn't have been hung if the 13 year old were not a male.

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 20, 2005 6:39:26 PM

  12. You might be right on that point, but it has nothing to do with religion.

    In the United States, federal law protects you from being lynched by fundamentalist Christians and I'm sure there are plenty of those who'd like to see you dead for being gay. Go to somewhere in central Christian Africa (e.g. Nigeria), and you will find fairly recent incidents of homosexuals being beaten to death by so called Christians without seeming to incur the wrath of the law.

    In these same Christian countries you'll find men getting away with violent crimes against women, even when their women get put to death for things as [relatively] minor as adultery or fornication.

    It's not a muslim problem, it's a human rights problem; it's a problem of ingrained conservatism, whether homophobic or male-ego driven, and to distil an issue like that into a simplistic blanket statement about an entire religion just isn't logical or helpful.
    I lived in a muslim country outside of the middle east for twelve years, and our family knew more than a couple of openly gay local people who thrived there; it's part of what made my coming out so easy; these other countries who sanction this kind of thing are disgusting, but don't let yourself fall into believing that it's a problem of Islam, extremism can and does run riot anywhere.

    Posted by: Alastair | Jul 20, 2005 7:02:46 PM

  13. Kevin,
    You express a commonly held belief in this country that we are the freest nation in the word.....i would like to suggest that we are the most powerful nation but not the freest. There are many nations that have more individual freedoms than the good ole USA

    Posted by: Jeffie | Jul 20, 2005 7:26:26 PM

  14. Regardless of the nomenclature of the charges . . . these poor boys were executed for having committed man-on-man sex.
    It's barbarous, it's brutal, it's inhumane.
    It shows me that my day-to-day petty concerns are exactly what they are -- petty, trivial, and privileged.
    my God . . .

    Posted by: kimmer | Jul 20, 2005 7:32:16 PM

  15. What a horrific, heartbreaking tragedy. The photos of those men - so very young! - will be on my mind for a long, long time.

    Posted by: JPB | Jul 20, 2005 8:32:05 PM

  16. this comment has to do with both these posts
    the bible is the text that mandates the death penalty for homosexuality; the koran doesn't. but somehow everyone has them mixed up on the issue. (the koran has some vague thing saying 'lewd acts between men should be punished' but it doesn't say what the acts are and doesn't require any specific punishment.)

    and no, torture doesn't "curb" insurgencies, and lynchings are untenable and disgusting. this is not an east/west battle of cultures. nor is it a religious stand-off.

    Posted by: jennie | Jul 20, 2005 8:49:52 PM

  17. While these images are shocking, sadly they are commonplace in so many countries around the world. Beheadings are common. So are chopping off hands. Etc. Etc. Quite frankly, the world is full of scenes such as this... and certainly for more "crimes" than being just gay. And I think it's too easy and naive to just say that this is because of conservative (i.e. extreme) religious behavior or worse, that this is how Iran is... or the "middle east" is...

    It's not that black and white.
    And we are not any better in this country, we just hide between the lines.

    I guess my simple point is: While it's good to break out of comfortable insulation and get angry... make sure you are getting angry at the right people for the right reasons. Don't lump Iranians as the enemy. Dump lump Islam into this. This really boils down to culture and exposure. What is different is dangerous. That's not about religion, but a the human creature's selfish fear of losing order and control.

    Just ask any one in this country who wants you converted, exported or dead: You are breaking down the family. You are ruining this country. You give me a fear that we aren't in control of things...


    On a completely different note... I suspect many would be surprised to visit a place like Saudi Arabia or an Islamic country that forbids homosexuality. In Saudi Arabia, so many boys hold hands or have their arms around each other. Men rub noses and kiss. From my western eyes it all seemed so very queer...

    Just a random observation.

    Posted by: RedMonkey | Jul 20, 2005 9:31:06 PM

  18. Jeffie, would you care to name a country that has more individual freedom than the U.S.?

    Please don't name a country where you are forced to use socialized medicine or a country where members of the legislature are forbidden to discuss the monarchy or a country where a judge can order the press to not report on an ongoing trial involving the prime minister....I can go on and on.

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 20, 2005 10:53:19 PM

  19. el horror esta en todos lados...en México, en el estado de Chiapas han asesinado alrededor de 100 hombres gays en los últimos años....y¨México no es un país musulman.

    Posted by: JOSÉ LUIS | Jul 20, 2005 11:06:47 PM

  20. This is what Christian right wants in the US. And the Supreme Court will help them get it too.

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 20, 2005 11:06:51 PM

  21. My Iranian friend has translated his original source in farsi:

    Two teenage boys who were originally from south of Iran were hanged in public in Mashad because of their forceful homosexual acts. According to the reports from ICNA (Iranian student journalists), they were convicted, imprisoned and were also given lashes for their homosexual acts, drinking, disturbing the peace and theft. The boys showed alot of remose for their action minutes before their death: "14 months ago we were arrested. We are very sorry for what we did. Our advice to the other youth is to think about their family and put their focus into school and their life". One of them added in the court: "We did not know that such acts will result in death penalty". They also added: "We grew up in a tough conditions where such crimes were prevelent, which is why we commited such crimes". The boy's lawyer said, "There were objections towards this information, but eventually the death penalty was given. My clients confessed to their crime in the court, but currently 3 of the accused in this case are at large".

    From this article and the reason why emphasized 'forceful' one cannot infer there were other reasons behind their punishment. However, as other bloggers such as Andy from Towelroad and Madge fromYeast Radio picked up the story two other English sources came up: Two child rapists publicly hanged In Iran and Iran Majlis deputies endorse execution of minor. I am not from Iran so I don't know how things work out there, but my friend who by the way is a refugee from Iran now living in the States says:

    "Sometimes Iranian media has a way of changing the story to avoid sanctions from UN.
    So I still trust the first article I sent you. I have seen similar stories and documentary about this in Iran, so it's nothing new to me. "

    Posted by: seyd | Jul 20, 2005 11:58:03 PM

  22. That's too funny. The U.S. has the most individual freedom - as long as you're white and straight. What other western country still uses the death penalty and conitnues to kill some innocent people. Canada may have socialized medicine but at least our gay population have more rights.

    Posted by: Leo | Jul 21, 2005 12:29:42 AM

  23. Mitch:
    Right on.

    For my work I spend 50%+ of my time outside of the US and I can tell you - there ain't a freer place on Earth than this country whether you like it or not. I'm not being ra-ra American here, I'm just telling you the facts of what I have seen. You need to travel - you need to talk to people in these countries (including the "West" - but the vast majority of the world lives outside the "western developed democracies" and most of them live in abject oppression, or are simply viewed by society as worthless and undeserving of liberty - social, moral, economic, intellectual sexual or otherwise. That's the reality of most of the world folks. I see it with my two eyes week after week after week - and have for many years now.

    So Jeffie - count the ways.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 21, 2005 12:44:16 AM

  24. Mitch you don't seem to understand a lot of things, such as how socialized medicine works. Medicine in countries with such systems provide medicine for everyone, but you are free to still pay privately for a dr. and other medical services or even pay insurance premiums for your "choice." The only thing that is different is that everyone has access to medical care but you can still buy add ons yourself just as we do hear. But unfortunately here, lots of people go without medicine because the govt. doesn't provide healthcare for its people. That's a freedom we don't have: to be free from worrying about paying for a disasterous health problem we can't afford to pay need to define the word "freedom" before you start saying we are the "freest country in the world." m.

    Posted by: michael | Jul 21, 2005 12:53:00 AM

  25. Michael you're wrong about that. You need to study up on Canadian socialized medicine before you try and tell my how it works. There are many countries with socialized medicine that forbid private practice, Canada is one of them, which is why many Canadians cross the border into the states constantly to escape 2 year waiting lists for hip replacements. Even if they don't your are FORCED to pay for medical coverage in the form of taxes, whether you want it or not. That's not freedom in my book. Neither is waiting 2 years in agony for a hip replacement so that Joe Crackhead can get free syringes.

    Care to explain anything else I don't understand?

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 21, 2005 1:08:05 AM

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