21 YEAR OLD IRANIAN EXECUTED

A 21 year old Iranian man has been executed for a gay sex crime allegedly committed when he was 13 years old.

According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), despite an order by the Iranian Chief Justice to nullify his death sentence, Makvan Mouloodzadeh was executed in Kermanshah Central Prison at 5 a.m. Iranian time on Wednesday morning.

Neither Mouloodzadeh’s family nor his lawyer was told about the execution until after it occurred.

“This is a shameful and outrageous travesty of justice and international human rights law,” said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s executive director. “How many more young Iranians have to die before the international community takes action?”

Mouloodzadeh was a 21-year-old Iranian citizen who was accused of committing anal rape with other young boys when he was 13 years old. However, at his trial, all the witnesses retracted their pre-trial testimonies, claiming to have lied to the authorities under duress. Mouloodzadeh 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 nevertheless found him guilty and sentenced him to death. 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 Mouloodzadeh’s lawyer, the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, nullified the impending death sentence of Mouloodzadeh. In his November 10, 2007 opinion, 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, Mouloodzadeh’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. Mouloodzadeh’s execution came days after a panel at the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.

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