Sunday, August 08, 2010


Iranian regime set to execute 18-year-old on false charge of sodomy

Guardian in London reported Aug.8 that an 18-year-old Iranian is facing imminent execution on charges of homosexuality, even though he has no legal representation. Ebrahim Hamidi, who is not gay, was sentenced to death for Lavat, or sodomy, on the basis of “judge’s knowledge”, a legal loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where there is no conclusive evidence.

Hamidi had been represented by human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, who has since been forced to flee Iran after bringing to international attention the case of another of his clients, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Iranian mother of two who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Mostafaei was due to arrive in Norway yesterday to begin a life in exile while continuing his campaigns on behalf of his clients, including Hamidi.

At the same time, human rights activist Peter Tatchell has written to the foreign secretary, William Hague, urging him to contact the chief justice of Iran and ask that the execution be halted.

“Ebrahim’s case is evidence that innocent heterosexual people can be sentenced to death on false charges of homosexuality [in Iran],” said Tatchell, co-founder of the London-based gay rights group OutRage.

Hamidi was arrested two years ago in the suburbs of the western city of Tabriz in the East Azerbaijan province after a fight with members of another family.

A person convicted of homosexuality in Iran can be lashed, hanged or stoned to death. The law includes a variety of penalties for different acts: 99 lashes if two unrelated males sleep “unnecessarily” under the same blanket – even without any sexual contact. A boy raped by an adult man would also be lashed if the court decided that he had “enjoyed” the experience.

After three days in detention, Hamidi confessed to the crime, allegedly under torture. The other three were cleared of all charges when promised by officials that they would be freed if they testified against Hamidi.

Mostafaei initially wrote an open letter about Hamidi’s case to highlight the execution of juvenile offenders. But two weeks ago Mostafaei’s wife, Fereshteh Halimi, was arrested and had been kept in solitary confinement in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison without charge until late last night, when the Observer understood that she was released.

Mostafaei fled to Turkey, where he was promptly arrested for entering the country illegally. On Friday, however, the Turkish authorities released him after EU diplomats intervened on his behalf.

Amensty International appealed for the halt of Ja’far Kazemi’s execution

Amnestly International on Aug. 8: Iran’s Supreme Court has rejected Ja’far Kazemi’s request to appeal against his death sentence. The sentence was imposed for his alleged participation in anti-government demonstrations and links with a banned organization. His sentence may be carried out at any time. Ja’far Kazemi was arrested on 18 September 2009 and interrogated and possibly tortured for months in Evin prison in Tehran. He was accused of participating in protests which followed the disputed outcome of Iran’s presidential election in June 2009, but was not accused of committing any violent acts; and for his alleged contact with banned opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). He was sentenced to death for ’enmity against God’, and is also believed to have been convicted of “propaganda against the system”. Amnesty International is aware of six other men sentenced to death in Iran for alleged links to the PMOI. Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei, Ali Saremi, Abdolreza Ghanbari, Ahmad Daneshpour Moghaddam and Mohsen Daneshpour Moghaddam were reportedly also found guilty of ’enmity against God’, possibly in the same case as Ja’far Kazemi. Information received on 4 August indicated that another man, Javad Lari, a merchant in the Tehran bazaar, had been sentenced to ‘death, without pardon’ for ’enmity against God’. He is also held in Evin prison, where he was reportedly tortured and forced to ‘confess’.