Teenage Iranian faces execution over withdrawn sodomy 'confession'
The teen, Ehsan, was 17-years-old when he was arrested in Shiraz after a man pressed charges of attempted rape against him and two other youths.
The Fourth Branch of the Criminal Court of Fars province, in Shiraz, found him guilty of lavat and sentenced him to death by hanging. Ehsan has since withdrawn his 'confession', saying that it was extracted under torture.
The execution of Ehsan is opposed by a coalition of Muslim organisations from across the world: the Association of British Muslims, Faith Matters, Muslims for Progressive Values, USA and Canada, Canadian Muslim Union, Members of The Royal Order of Noor of Buayan, Canadian Council of Muslim Women.
“We appeal to the Supreme Leader and Chief Justice of Iran to show mercy by revoking the death sentence and releasing Ehsan. The evidence against Ehsan is weak. The accuser has withdrawn his allegations.
"It is unIslamic to sentence a person to death simply because they are alleged to be homosexual, especially without 100 per cent proof of guilt,” said Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, Co-Director of the Association of British Muslims.
Under Articles 108 to 113 of the Iranian penal code, lavat is proved either if a person confesses four times to having committed sodomy or by the testimony of four righteous men.
Neither of these legal conditions have been met. Ehsan confessed only once and under torture. Four righteous men have not testified that they saw him commit sodomy.
Ehsan denied the charges in court in front of the judges. He mentioned that his confession was made under torture.
Furthermore, the alleged victim dropped all charges against all three boys before the trial. One out of the five judges pronounced him not guilty and asked for his immediate release.
Saghi Ghahraman, chair of the Iranian Queer Organisation, told the Human Rights and Press Director of the Association Of British Muslims, Dan Littauer: “We should urgently ask the Iranian judicial system to show sympathy to a mere minor who has been falsely accused. Either forgive and release him or have another trial and investigate the evidence more thoroughly.”
“Ehsan’s family is terrified of government and security service reprisals if their family name appears in the media, and so is Ehsan’s lawyer. This is why we are not releasing Ehsan’s full name or the name of his lawyer,” said Ghahraman.
“As has happened in several cases in the past, you don't need to be gay or lesbian in Iran to be in danger of execution for homosexuality - a simple, unfounded accusation can be enough to see you sentenced to death,” added Littauer.