Two male teenagers were hanged in Mashhad, Iran, July 19 for having sex with each other, the Iranian Students News Agency reported. The report was translated from Farsi by the British gay-rights group OutRage!.
The teens, one age 18 and one under age 18, reportedly were convicted by Court No. 19 under Islamic Shariah law, which punishes homosexual acts with death. They were identified only as "M.A." and "A.M."
The reports said the couple acknowledged having sex but said they didn't realize it was a capital offense. They also testified that most Iranian boys have sex with each other.
Another report, by Iran In Focus -- reportedly based on the original ISNA story -- claimed the two were hanged not for engaging in gay sex but for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy. Neither the ISNA report nor a report from the National Council of Resistance of Iran reported this information, OutRage! said.
"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 it may be that the 13-year-old was a willing participant but that Iranian 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," said OutRage!'s Peter Tatchell, who broke the story in the English-language media.
"This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran," Tatchell said. "The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder.
"According to Iranian human-rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the ayatollahs seized power in 1979," he said. "Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule."
OutRage! urged the international community to begin treating Iran "as a pariah state" and to "break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions, and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran."
They also suggested people protest to their nearest Iranian embassy or consulate.
Graphic photos of the hangings, taken by ISNA, have been posted on OutRage!'s Web site at www.outrage.org .uk/imagezoom.asp?file=37, www.outrage.org .uk/imagezoom.asp?file=38 and www.outrage.org .uk/imagezoom.asp?file=39.
The original ISNA story in Farsi is at isna.ir/Main/NewsView.aspx