/ IHRights#Iran: Hossein Amaninejad and Hamed Yavari were executed in Hamedan Central Prison on 11 June. Hossein was arrested… https://t.co/3lnMTwFH6z13 Jun

Iran: The Islamic Penal Code Promotes Violence Against the LGBT Community

15 May 21
Iran: The Islamic Penal Code Promotes Violence Against the LGBT Community


Iran Human Rights )IHR); May 13, 2021: In the last week, reports have been circulating on social media about the murder of a gay young man called Ali Fazeli Monfared (known as Alireza). And while there are no credible reports on the details, motives of perpetrators of the murder, it has opened debate about the lack of adequate protective laws and lack of cultural education.

Iran Human Rights considers the Islamic Penal Code, which sets flogging and the death penalty for homosexual relations to be one of the main causes of violence against the LGBT community.

“Not only does the current system not recognise homosexuality, but the inhuman punishments prescribed by law also lead to more homophobic attacks on the LGBT community. These laws must be repealed and sexual relations between two consenting adults should decriminalised, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, IHR director. 

According to Radio Zamaneh, Ali Fazeli Monfared (known as Alireza), a gay Ahvazi man was murdered on May 6. It appears that he was murdered due to his sexual orientation but no credible report has been released on the perpetrators and their motives.

The BBC Persian is reportedly in possession of voice notes from Alireza in which he said that his life “was being threatened by his family.” In the notes, he says he wants to move to Turkey and then to a European country.

Some LGBT rights activists have also pointed to the fact that he may have been murdered after his family discovered his military exemption card.

A two-year military service is compulsory for all men in Iran unless they are exempted on one of the sanctioned grounds. Gay men may be exempted after going through a long and arduous process. According to the army’s 2020 Medical Exemption Regulations, “Article 33, Paragraph 8” will be written in the exemption section of their military cards. Article 33 Psychological exemptions are covered by Article 33, and Paragraph 8 refers to “behavioural disorders (neural and mental imbalances) and deviancies contrary to military etiquette, as well moral and sexual deviancies such as transsexualism.”

Speaking to IHR, a gay man who recently went through the long process of obtaining a military exemption card said: “The hardest parts were the personal questions about the details of my sex life and that as part of the long examination process, we were asked to bring a family member with us to a military examination centre. Most families are unaware of their children’s situation due to societal conditions and this makes things so difficult that many are forced to forgo their exemptions and choose the harsh and degrading conditions in the military.”

As homosexuality is also punishable by death under Iranian law, gay men who do pursue obtaining an exemption also have to worry about the legal consequences of having confessed to being gay.

Article 234 of the Islamic Penal Code sets out the hadd (fixed punishment for offences mandated by Sharia) punishments for sodomy. It states that the “active” party will only be sentenced to death if he is married or resorted to force and rape. While the “passive” party will be sentenced to death regardless of their marital status. According to Note 1 of the Article, an “active” non-Muslim party with a Muslim “passive” party shall also be sentenced to death. The Note to Article 236 which sets out the punishment for homosexual intercrural sex also states that if the “active” party is a non-Muslim and the “passive” party a Muslim, the hadd punishment for the “active” party shall be the death penalty.

Furthermore, Article 302 of the new IPC sets out a list of those that are mahdoor-ol-dam, one whose blood may be shed with immunity or deserving of death. Article 302(a) states that anyone charged with committing a crime against an individual who has committed a hadd crime punishable by death is considered mahdoor-ol-dam and the perpetrators of the murder against them will not be sentenced to qisas or have to pay diya (blood money).

This has raised concerns that Ali Fazeli Monfared’s murderers may escape punishment.

Mohammad Moghimi, a lawyer in Iran, told IHR: “It seems that in the case of Ali Fazeli Monfared (Alireza), it will hard to prove that he is mahdoor-ol-dam. If those accused of his murder raise such a claim, the sodomy allegations must be heard before a competent court and a ruling must be issued in that regard, which is impossible in practice, due to Alireza’s death. Therefore, it is legally impossible for the defendants in the case to prove that the victim was mahdoor-ol-dam. In my opinion, the court will treat this case as premeditated murder. Should the court find them guilty of premeditated murder, it will also depend whether the victim’s family, ie. Alireza’s mother and father, will demand qisas (retribution-in-kind) or not. Overall, I can say that proving that the victim was mahdoor-ol-dam is not a simple task, but the possibility of it being raised, however small, if the victim was homosexual, particularly a homosexual man and the issue of sodomy, is still there.”

Speaking to IHR, lawyer Hossein Ahmadi-Niaz said: “Being a lesbian or gay is a crime in Iran and its punishments range from flogging to execution. The judiciary and police system in Iran are against them and this lack of judicial support leads to more violence against them and the occurrence of such crimes. “

“The interpretation of mahdoor-ol-dam is not an explicit interpretation under Iranian law, anything can thus be covered by the law. Unfortunately, tragic and inhumane acts are perpetrated against them in the name of being mahdoor-ol-dam or an issue of honour. Particularly the murder in Ahvaz which is also a crime, it comes from existing incorrect traditions. But the point is, unfortunately, the various interpretations and abuses in the law leave room for different interpretations and abuses of the law, or in the name of the law and they issue these permits to individuals which gives them the courage to commit such crimes in society.”