Iran Executes Two Men on 'Sodomy' Charges

On January 30, Iran executed two men after finding them guilty of charges related to homosexuality. An Iran Human Rights Watch tweet identified the victims as Mehrdad Karimpour and Farid Mohammadi.

The two were charged with "sodomy by force," a term used as legal gymnastics by the Islamic Republic of Iran to detain and eventually murder homosexuals. Before the execution, both Karimpour and Mohammadi spent six years in Mehrdad Prison.

Iran's extreme implementation of Sharia has made it the most dangerous and oppressive place for LGBTQ communities. Less than a year ago, two other men were executed for homosexuality-related charges, also in Mehrdad prison.

Farhad Najafi and Ali Ahmadi, 25-year old and 23-year old, respectively, were executed in July 2021. According to the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA), Iran has executed at least 12 prisoners on alleged "sodomy by force charges" in 2020. At least 16 prisoners were executed for similar charges in 2019 and 23 in 2018.

Under Iran's harsh laws, crimes such as sodomy, rape, adultery, armed robbery, and murder are punishable by the death penalty. Javaid Rehman, the U.N.'s independent investigator on human rights in Iran, reported in October 2021 that Iran has been implementing death penalties "at an alarming rate."

The executions and the trials are being ignored in Iranian news channels. The Jerusalem Post reported that "Iranian regime-controlled media has not reported on the executions of the two men."

Peter Tatchell, an LGBTQ+ rights campaigner, said the "international community must impose Magnitsky sanctions on the regime officials, judges and prison staff who authorized these executions." Tatchell also called out Iran's systemic prosecution of members of the LGBTQ community. This "long-standing regime policy of the state-sanctioned murder of gay men have been condemned by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch," he added.

Karmel Melamed, an Iranian American journalist based in the U.S., called for harsh reactions from the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "The Ayatollah regime in Iran just executed two gay men for the crime of sodomy in Iran; where is the outrage for this horrific crime?!" Melamed added.

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