Advertisement
Identity

Iran's First Juvenile Execution of 2016 Was a Gay Teenager

Though Hassan Afshar was the first this year—for allegedly forcing another male teen to have sex with him—he almost certainly won't be the last.

by Tyler Trykowski
Aug 4 2016, 6:09pm

Still from VICE on HBO's report on "Transsexuals of Iran"

After a two month trial in which he lacked access to a lawyer, Amnesty International reported Tuesday the results of an investigation that claim Iran has executed Hassan Afshar, a 19-year-old who was arrested in December 2014 after he was accused of forcing another teen to have gay sex.

"Iran has proved that its sickening enthusiasm for putting juveniles to death, in contravention of international law, knows no bounds," said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International's deputy Middle East and North Africa program director. "The judiciary rushed through the investigation and prosecution, convicting and sentencing him to death within two months of his arrest as though they could not execute him quickly enough."

Afshar was arrested in December 2014 on charges of forced male-to-male anal intercourse, after authorities received complaints that he had allegedly forced another boy to have sex with him. The complaint was brought by the victim's parents, who also accused two other boys of the same crime. Afshar maintained that the sex was consensual and the victim had willingly engaged in gay sex before.

Iranian law prescribes different punishments for gay sex depending on context. In gay sex deemed to be forced, passive (or "bottom") partners are spared from punishment, while active (or "top") partners are executed. If found to be consensual, active partners are executed only if married or are not Muslim, while passive partners are executed. While it is, obviously, important to charge and punish rapists, Amnesty says that this system breeds a judiciary process ripe for false accusations, in which passive partners are compelled to accuse other parties of rape to save their lives, as Gay Star News reports. Juvenile executions, as well as those made in cases of gay sex, are violations of international human rights law.

Mughrabi went on to note that after his sentencing in early 2015, Afshar was held in a juvenile-detention center for seven months without knowledge of his impending execution. Despite a promise that Iran's Office of the Head of the Judiciary would review his case this September, Amnesty claims that Afshar was hanged on July 18, in Arak's Prison in the country's Markazi Province.


Watch Thomas Morton explore why homophobia has led Iran to become a capital of gender reassignment surgery in VICE on HBO's "Transsexuals of Iran"


The Jeruselum Post notes a 2008 Wikileaks dispatch revealed that Iran executed between 6,000 and 8,000 homosexuals between 1979, the beginning of the Iranian Revolution, and 2008. Amnesty reports that between 2005 and 2015, the country executed at least 75 juveniles; currently, 160 Iranian death-row prisoners are being held for crimes committed while under 18 years of age.

Iran's homophobic climate has created an extreme culture of fear among the country's LGBTQ citizens. Besides capital punishment, the country has become a capital of state-sponsored gender reassignment surgery as a homosexuality "cure," as Thomas Morton reported this January on VICE on HBO. And though such surgeries are state-sponsored, trans citizens are still subject to harassment, discrimination, and violence by authorities, as VICE News reported this April.