Makwan Moloudzadeh, a 21 year old Iranian Kurd was hanged. His crime is his sexuality, which is illegal under the Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many have been executed for sexual crimes such as extramarital and homosexual sex acts. Due to the legal processes and procedures of the Judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its complete lack of transparency, it is extremely difficult to access the documents, witnesses, testimonies, and other facts pertinent to the files of those accused, as a result of which it is almost impossible to verify the confessions, complaints, evidence, and verdicts.
Makwan was accused of committing lavat-e iqabi (anal sex) with other young boys when he was 13 years old. Following his arrest on 1 October 2006 in Paveh, western Iran, Makwan was tried and on 7 July 2007 found guilty and sentenced to death by Branch 1 of the Kermanshah Criminal Court, in an unfair trial. However, at Makwan's trial, all the witnesses retracted their pre-trial testimonies, claiming to have lied to the authorities under duress. During his trial, Makwan is said to have maintained his innocence. Previously, however, he claimed he was ill-treated during interrogation and "confessed" during interrogation that he had had a sexual relationship with a boy in 1999.
Makwan also told the court that his confession was made under coercion and pleaded not guilty. On June 7, 2007, the Seventh District Criminal Court of Kermanshah in Western Iran found him guilty and sentenced him to death. Makwan lodged an appeal on 5 July, which the Supreme Court rejected on 1 August. In finding Makwan guilty, judges relied on ‘elm-e qazi - the "knowledge of the judge" - to determine that penetration had taken place and that Makwan had reached puberty at the time of his alleged offence and could thus be sentenced to death as an adult. Despite his lawyer's appeal, the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence on August 1, 2007. The case caused an international uproar, and prompted a letter writing campaign by IGLHRC and similar actions by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Outrage! and Everyone Group.
In response to mounting public pressure, and following a detailed petition submitted to the Iranian Chief Justice by Makwan's lawyer, the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, nullified the impending death sentence of Makwan. In his November 10, 2007 opinion (1/86/8607), the Iranian Chief Justice described the death sentence to be in violation of Islamic teachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics, and the law of the land.
In accordance with Iranian legal procedure, Makwan's case was sent to the Special Supervision Bureau of the Iranian Justice Department, a designated group of judges who are responsible for reviewing and ordering retrials of flawed cases flagged by the Iranian Chief Justice. However, in defiance of the Chief Justice, the judges decided to ratify the original court's ruling and ordered the local authorities to carry out the execution.
Makvan was executed in Kermanshah Central Prison at 5 a.m. Neither Makvan's family or his lawyer were told about the execution until after it occurred.
In Makwan case, the judge has ruled based on his own knowledge that Makwan had committed lavat in accordance with article 120 of the Iranian Penal Code. This is despite the fact that even internal rulings of Iranian authorities, including the fatwa of Ayatollah Sane'i and other clerics who are source of emulation state that a judge's knowledge cannot be used as a basis to prove crimes punishable by hadd usually capital punishment. Through carrying out such executions, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran not only violates the most basic international human rights standards, it also undermines the rulings and fatwas of Islamic clerics and sources of emulation who are recognized by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In recent years numerous individuals have been executed because of their sexual and private relations in Mashhad, Gorgan, Arak, Kermanshah, and Tehran, many of whom were under the legal age. Despite the current circumstances under which the Iranian Queer Organization, due to inaccessibility of evidence and testimonies regarding these cases, cannot prove homosexuality of those executed beyond a doubt, we believe that the true crime in these executions was sexual relationship (which is not confirmed by the Iranian government). The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran punishes those with different sexual orientation and sexual relations by death.
According to the Penal Code of the Islamic Republic, four witnesses are required in order to prove the perpetration of lavat (sodomy) which is punishable by death. Western states reject asylum claims of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Iranians due to their assumption that it is almost impossible to have four witnesses. The truth is that when private spaces of LGBT Iranians are raided by the police, there are four clerics and video cameras already present. Moreover, a judge can use his own knowledge to rule on a case regarding lavat; the alleged perpetrators may confess to lavat under torture; and medical examinations can prove whether an individual has had anal penetration. No civil rights legislation exists in Iran to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Depictions of homosexuality are prohibited in society or in the press, unless it is negative. No organization or political party is permitted to exist that endorses LGBT human rights.
The concept of sexual orientation is not recognized in Iran, nor does the judiciary acknowledge the existence of LGBT people and instead believes that all people are normally heterosexual.Thus, homosexuality is a violation of the supreme will of their God.
As a result, no laws exist that protect LGBT Iranians from discrimination, harassment, or bias-motivated violence, and as a theocratic political system, no such laws are permitted to exist. Most Iranian LGBT people remain in the closet about their sexual orientation for fear of being the victims of discrimination, hate crimes, government sanctions, corporal punishment, and/or capital punishment.
The only legal recognition for couples is a legal marriage between one male and one female, both. The Islam-based legal system prohibits opposite sex couples from associating in public, and dating is taboo. Male homosexual couples might be able to pretend that their relationship is platonic, but any type of sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage is illegal.
Censorship of literature and history has been documented under the rule of both the Pahlavi Dynasty monarchy and the Islamic Republic in Iran. In 2002, a book entitled Witness Play by Cyrus Shamisa was banned from shelves (despite being initially approved) because it said that certain notable Persian writers were homosexuals or bisexuals.
Article 1210(1) of Iran's Civil Code sets the ages of 15 lunar years (14 years and seven months) as the age of criminal responsibility for boys, and nine lunar years for girls. Makwan was reportedly born on 31 March 1986 and, at the age of 13, was a minor under Iranian law at the time of the alleged offence. According to Article 49 of Iran's Penal Code: "Children, if committing an offence, are exempted from criminal responsibility. Their correction is the responsibility of their guardians or, if the court decides, by a centre for correction of minors."
Furthermore, in this case the judge used the customary practice of 'judge's knowledge' to override Article 113 of Iran's Penal Code which states, "If a minor has anal sex with another minor, each will receive up to 74 lashes unless one of them was forced to do so [in which case he will not be punished]."
International law strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed when they were under the age of 18. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has raised concern about child offenders' criminal responsibility being determined by judges, using subjective and arbitrary criteria such as the attainment of puberty, the age of discernment or the personality of the child. As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran has undertaken not to execute child offenders. However, since 1990, Iran has executed at least 24 child offenders, with a further two reportedly put to death on 17 October 2007.
At least 78 child offenders are on death row in Iran; at least 15 Afghan child offenders are reportedly under sentence of death.