Numerous reports claim that a man – thought to be gay – has been hanged in Iran for sodomy.

Iranian sources say that the man – identified as Shahab Darvishi – was hanged in public in the town of Kermanshah in western Iran.

The Iranian government says that the man was executed for the crimes of corruption, assault and “lavat” (sodomy in Iranian). It is unclear to what extent the man was in fact guilty of crimes other than the sodomy.

Unconfirmed claims by some gay rights groups indicate that thousands of gay men and woman have been executed since Islamic Sharia law was instituted in the 1974 revolution.

The execution of gays and lesbians in Iran has come under the spotlight before. Two teenage boys were executed on July 19 2005.

The boys, aged 15 (Mahmoud), and 17 (Ayaz), were both minors. Authorities claimed at the time that they were part of a group of boys that raped another 13 year old teenager. According to Iranian activists however, sources who knew the boys insist that they, and another two teenagers, were caught fondling each other in a semi-public area and that the 13 year old was an active participant.

It has been repeatedly reported that gays and lesbians are regularly arrested, flogged and beaten by the authorities in Iran.

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