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Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Communications to and from Governments, A/HRC/14/24/Add.1,18 June 2010: Iran

Iran: Concern about executions based on charges of homosexuality 

Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards on safeguards and restrictions relating to the imposition of capital punishment

Subject(s) of appeal: 7 males and 3 minors

Character of reply: No response

Observations of the Special Rapporteur: The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Iran has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

Urgent Appeal dated 22 December 2009

450. In this connection, I would like to draw the attention of your Government to information I have received regarding several cases of men sentenced to death on charges of homosexuality.

According to the information received:

Articles 108 to 111 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran provide for the death penalty for sexual intercourse with penetration between “mature, sane and consenting” men (lavat). Article 114 requires that lavat be proven by the testimony of four male eyewitnesses. Under article 120 of the Code, however, if there are no four male eyewitnesses supporting a charge of lavat, the judge may issue a verdict and death sentence “on the basis of the knowledge which he has acquired through generally accepted methods”. Nemat Safavi was arrested on charges of lavat in June 2006, when he was aged 16. The Criminal Court of Ardabil found him guilty and sentenced him to death in 2008. In November 2009, the Supreme Court quashed the sentence and sent the case back to a different section of the Criminal Court of Ardabil. Ghaseem Bashkool, a university student born in 1984, and another man were arrested on charges of lavat on 31 May 2007. The First District of the Criminal Court of Ardabil found the two men guilty of lavat and sentenced them to death. Reportedly, the conviction was based on “the knowledge of the judge”. The current state of the proceedings against him is unknown. In or briefly before February 2008, Hamze Chavoshi (aged 19 at the time) and Loghman Hemzepour (aged 18 at the time) were arrested on charges of lavat. The current state of the proceedings against them is unknown.

453. It is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me by the Human Rights Council to seek to clarify all cases brought to my attention. Since I am expected to report on this case to the Human Rights Council, I would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:

1. Are the facts alleged above accurate? Please provide detailed information on the current state of criminal proceedings on charges of lavat against Nemat Safavi, Ghaseem Bashkool and the man arrested together with him, Hamze Chavoshi and Loghman Hemzepour, Mahdi Pooran, Hamid Taghi, Ebrahim Hamidi, and Mehdi Rezaii, and Mohsen Ghabraii.

2. Is the information summarized above concerning the relevant provisions of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran accurate? Please explain the concept of a guilty finding based on “the knowledge of the judge”.

3. Please provide statistics as to the number of persons sentenced to death for the offence of lavat and the number of those executed in the past five years.

link to text of extract: Communications-SR Executions-Iran-2010-eng

Link to full text of the report: Communications-SR Executions-2010-eng