‘Gay’ Execution in Iran Halted by Chief Justice
IGLHRC cites global protest as central
NEW YORK, November 14, 2007 – The impending death sentence of Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year old Iranian citizen found guilty of multiple counts of anal rape (ighab), allegedly committed when he was 13 years old, has been halted, it was learned today.
Today, the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLRC) has learned that the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, has nullified the sentence, describing the death sentence to be in violation of Islamic teachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics, and the law of the land.
“This is a stunning victory for human rights and a reminder of the power of global protest,” said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s executive director, who on November 5 sent a letter in Persian and English asking that Iranian authorities intervene to halt the execution.
The verdict in Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s case was questionable from the outset, IGLHRC maintains.
Although no one ever accused him of rape, the court declared otherwise. All parties involved in the case told the court that their statements during the investigation were either untruthful or coerced. The investigation was also riddled with procedural irregularities.
Recognizing that the death sentence in this case violated both international law and the Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, IGLHRC took action.
In addition to writing letters to the Iranian authorities, IGLHRC issued an action alert on November 5, 2007, which prompted other human rights advocates to similarly object. Activists from around the world responded by sending over 100 emails demanding an immediate halt to Makvan’s execution.
Other human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Iranian Queer Organization issued action alerts of their own.
“It is absolutely imperative that we halt the deplorable use of the death penalty to force social conformity,” said Ms. Ettelbrick. “We hope that Makvan’s case and the profound rejection of the death penalty by the Iranian Chief Justice sets the course for the future in Iran.”
After a designated group of judges from the Chief Justice's office formally nullifies the court’s decision, the case will be sent to a local court for retrial.
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