Two gay teenagers, one 18 the other a minor under the age of 18, were publicly executed in a public square in Masshad, Iran for the "crime of homosexulity" earlier this week according to the aptly named, Outrage! News Service. Iran enforces Islamic Sharia law, which dictates the death penalty for gay sex. According to the report, the teen boys admitted to having gay sex (probably under torture) but claimed in their defense that most young boys had sex with each other and that they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death. The victims had been held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes. "Three other young gay Iranians are being hunted by the police, but they have gone into hiding and cannot be found. If caught, they will also face execution." the story reported.
Doug Ireland's blog site, Direland, reported that consensual gay sex in any form is punishable by death in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the website Age of Consent, which monitors such laws around the world, in Iran "Homosexuality is illegal, those charged with love-making are given a choice of four deathstyles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch. According to Article 152, if two men not related by blood are discovered naked under one cover without good reason, both will be punished at a judge's discretion. Gay teens (Article 144) are also punished at a judge's discretion. Rubbing one's penis between the thighs without penetration (tafheed) shall be punished by 100 lashes for each offender. This act, known to the English-speaking world as "frottage" is punishable by death if the "offender" is a non-Moslem. If frottage is thrice repeated and penalty-lashes have failed to stop such repetitions, upon the fourth "offense" both men will be put to death. According to Article 156, a person who repents and confesses his gay behavior prior to his identification by four witnesses, may be pardoned. Even kissing "with lust" (Article 155) is forbidden. This bizarre law works to eliminate old Persian male-bonding customs, including common kissing and holding hands in public.
"This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran,” said Peter Tatchell of the London-based gay human rights group OutRage!"The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder."According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. "Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule. The victims include women who have sex outside of marriage and political opponents of the Islamist government.
Members of the Iranian parliament expressed outraged not of the execution of the teen boys, but rather the media's reporting of their ages. According to Iran Focus News, one member of parliament was dismayed that the focus was on the age of the boys "[I]nstead of paying tribute to the action of the judiciary, the media are mentioning the age of the hanged criminals and creating a commotion that harms the interests of the state."
The events in Iran underscore the importance of maintaining a constitutional separation between church and state as we enjoy in our country. Religious fundamentalists throughout time have committed some of the worst atrocities on mankind when empowered with governmental authority.