Two weeks ago, Iran executed three men because they were gay.Iranian authorities rarely admit executing prisoners on the basis of sexuality– typically they are killed on trumped-up charges like kidnapping or burglary –but here the men were explicitly charged with the crime of intercourse betweenmen. The government’s willingness to openly charge then execute men for sodomysignals a dangerous shift in policy that could harm thousands of people inIran. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isinfamous for his denial that gays exist in his country, but it seems that hisstate of denial has now turned to active persecution of the gay population.
The victims have been identified only by their initials.Their ages were not revealed. All that is known is that early in the morning onSeptember 4, three men lost their lives, convicted under ChapterThree of the Iranian Islamic penal code, which calls for death for the crime ofsodomy.
Iran is one of seven countries with laws penalizinghomosexuality with the death penalty. Thelast time people were executed for the stated crime of homosexuality in Iranwas in 2005 when the state hanged two teenage boys.
Executing people on the basis of their sexuality is aviolation of the most basic human rights. Furthermore, the execution of these three menis part of a dangerous trend in Iran. There have been, on average, twoexecutions per day in the first half of 2011. It is a precarious time for thegay population in Iran, and the US needs to make an unequivocal statementagainst this reprehensible and hateful action.