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Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received, E/CN.4/2006/53/Add. 1, March 27, 2006: Iran

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According to the information I have received, both men were sentenced to death for the crime of “lavat” which is reportedly defined by Iran’s Shari`a-based Penal Code as encompassing penetrative and non-penetrative sexual acts between men.

These would not appear to be isolated cases. Indeed, I have been informed of other recent cases of execution of men in Iran on the basis of their private, consensual sexual conduct. For instance, on 15 March 2005, it was reported that the Tehran Criminal Court sentenced to death two men, whose names have not been made known to me, following the discovery of a video showing them engaged in homosexual acts and based on the confession of one of them.

It is my understanding that the death penalty applies in Iran for a wide range of crimes, some of which would not appear to fall within the internationally recognised category of “the most serious crimes”. Iranian law reportedly punishes all penetrative sexual acts between adult men with capital punishment. Non-penetrative sexual acts between men are punished with lashes until the fourth offence, when they are punished with death. Sexual acts between women, which are defined differently, are punished with lashes until the fourth offence, when they are also punished with death.

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It is clear that the death penalty should not be imposed for offences such as the commission of a homosexual act. It is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me by the Commission on Human Rights to seek to clarify all cases brought to my attention. Without in any way wishing to pre-judge the accuracy of the information received, I would be grateful for a reply to the following questions:


5. Please provide statistics as to the number of persons executed for the commission of homosexual acts in the past three years.

link to the full text of the Report: Report-SR Extrajudicial Executions-summary cases-2006-eng