Iran reportedly hangs gay man

Leading ayatollah says homosexuals worse than dogs and pigs; gay activists says actions remove Iran from community of civilized nations.

Iranian officer checks cable for hanging 390 (R)
 (photo credit: Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters)
Iranian officer checks cable for hanging 390 (R)
(photo credit: Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters)
BERLIN – The Islamic Republic's campaign to execute gay Iranians is believed to have resulted in the public hanging this month of a man identified only as “CH. M.”
According to an online report last week in Europe’s largest gay news service, Pink News, Iran’s judiciary imposed the death penalty on Ch. M. in Marvdasht, Fars province, on April 19 “for allegedly engaging in ‘sodomy’ with another man.”
Iran has ramped up over the years its persecution of the country’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
The British Guardian earlier this month translated remarks from Grand Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli, who said, “Even animals... dogs and pigs don’t engage in this disgusting act [homosexuality], but yet they [Western politicians] pass laws in favor of them in their parliaments.”
Stuart Appelbaum, a leading US gay activist and head of a large trade union, wrote to The Jerusalem Post by email on Saturday: “The fact that Iran promotes and tolerates this kind of action removes itself from the community of civilized nations. The entire world – gay and straight – should be appalled.”
Appelbaum added, “If members of the LGBT community speak out about the Middle East and yet remain silent about the horrific acts and statements coming out of Iran, they are culpable as well.”
Appelbaum is president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW, and president of the Jewish Labor Committee.
Pink News reported that Gholamhossein Chamansara, the attorney-general of Marvdasht, told the government-controlled Iranian Fars News Agency that a man (Ch. M.) was sentenced to death because of his “despicable/heinous act that contradicted Shari’a Muslim laws.”
Yoav Sivan, an Israeli journalist who served on the boards of Aguda – the Israeli Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Association and the Jerusalem Open House and the Israeli board of the World Jewish Congress, wrote to the Post on Saturday: “Unfortunately, we have become inured to hearing such homophobic expressions coming from top Iranians. We should note that the expression is not just homophobic but just as much anti-Western by describing tolerance toward a minority as a shortcoming of Western politics. So Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli teaches two lessons. One homophobic directed primarily at his audience at home, and one anti- Western that should be heard primarily among us in the West.”
Gay sex is punishable by death under Iranian ”so long as both the active and passive partners are mature, of sound mind, and have acted of free will.”
According to Pink News, “the Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRAN) stated that the reference to ‘despicable/ heinous act’ indicates that the death penalty was carried due to same-sex acts. However the judiciary regulatory office in Fars Province was unwilling to give more precise information about the case and the type of sexual activities of the executed man.”
In an interview last week with the Die Welt am Sonntag, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented on Iran’s human rights record.
“After all they stone women, they hang gays – this is a backward, dark medieval regime that imposes its tyranny on its own people. Shoots them on the sidewalk, goes into their homes, culls the Internet, takes people away at night,” he said.
Human rights activists, gay journalists, and LGBT publications criticized Human Rights Watch for failing to focus on the rise of persecution of gays in the Islamic Republic.
The online publication Queerty wrote an article titled, “Disgraced Human Rights Watch Director Scott Long Quits...” back in the summer of 2010. Long had failed to publish a study documenting intense repression of Iran's LGBT community.
Writing on his blog “A Paper Bird” in February, Long, whom critics also accuse of fanning anti-Israel sentiments, continued to downplay violent repression of Iran’s LGBTs, saying that Iran has “a unique genocide, the first genocide in world history with no demonstrable dead.”
After Long’s departure, HRW issued a respected study in 2010 on the persecution faced by Iran’s LGBT community.
Long has praised anti-Israel advocates such as Sarah Schulman, who claimed that Israel is mounting a “pinkwashing” campaign to promotes its gay rights record to blunt criticism of the Jewish state.