UN Rapporteur blasts Iran’s execution of gays based on Islamic morality

Iran imprisoned LGBT activist in solitary confinement

UNHRC 521 (photo credit: Reuters)
(photo credit: Reuters)
NEW YORK CITY — The newly released UN Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran condemned Iran’s lethal homophobia, in connection with a Jerusalem Post exposé on Tehran’s public hanging of man based on an anti-gay charge.
According to Javaid Rehman, the UN Rapporteur who released his report on Monday to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, “The death penalty continues to be applied for a wide range of offenses, in contravention of Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which notes that states’ parties that have not yet abolished the death penalty should only impose it for the most serious crimes.”
He added that, “The Islamic Penal Code does not limit the application of the death penalty to such cases. The death penalty may be applied for example in some cases of adultery, for certain cases of consensual same-sex intercourse between men, or for offenses that are not well-defined, such as efsad-e fel-arz (spreading corruption on earth).
“In June 2019, when asked about the imposition of the death penalty in cases of same-sex intercourse between men, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the law was reflective of moral principles held by society,” Rehman said.
He was referring to an incident where Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, defended the execution of gay people after a German reporter asked him: “Why are homosexuals executed in Iran because of their sexual orientation?”
Zarif responded that, “Our society has moral principles. And we live according to these principles. These are moral principles concerning the behavior of people in general. And that means that the law is respected and the law is obeyed.”
According to a 2008 British WikiLeaks cable, Iran’s regime has executed between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians since the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
The UN report noted that: “Another former detainee – who was an activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and for gender equality and who had spent 19 days in solitary confinement in Ward 209 at Evin Prison – informed the Special Rapporteur that she was kept in a cell measuring 2m. by 3m. and could not talk to her family or the outside world for the first 15 days of her detention. She was not allowed to have any books. In the bathroom, only hot water was available, and in her cell the lights were on 24 hours a day. She developed an anxiety disorder that caused panic attacks, as a result of which she was taken to the prison clinic, where she was given medication.”
The report continued: “Another person who was in solitary confinement in Ward 209 reports having been kept in such confinement for 83 days. For three weeks he had access only to the bathroom. He could ring a bell to ask for assistance and, when taken to the bathroom, he was blindfolded. During that period, he could not receive visits. His parents came every week but were sent back every time. Another detainee who was held in solitary confinement in Zahedan Prison was not allowed to talk to his family for 30 days.”
Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh, told the UN Human Rights Council that, “I should be excused for failing to find any reason to be appreciative of the report, which is just an updated version of a yearly ritual devised to stigmatize the Iranian nation. The report is inherently flawed because it is based on an innately produced mandate and overly politicized agenda. The report is far from a faithful reflection of Iran’s continuing progress in human rights performance.”
The Post first reported that Iran’s clerical regime executed a man based on an anti-homosexual law in January, 2019. The article led to increased scrutiny of Iran’s lethal homophobia. Richard Grenell, the openly gay US ambassador to Germany and current acting director of intelligence, launched an unprecedented international campaign in 2019 to decriminalize homosexuality around the world.