Sunday, August 8, 2010

Iran to Execute 18 Year Old on "Judge's Knowlege" of Sodomy

The Guardian UK reports that Iran is scheduled to execute an 18 year old on a now-debunked charge of sodomy.  According to a report in the  Guardian

"The client of human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei has been sentenced to death in spite of retracted testimony

Lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei (pic) fled into exile after his wife was arrested in Iran two weeks ago.

An 18-year-old Iranian is facing imminent execution on charges of homosexuality, even though he has no legal representation. Ebrahim Hamidi, who is not gay, was sentenced to death for lavat, or sodomy, on the basis of 'judge's knowledge,' a legal loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where there is no conclusive evidence.

Hamidi had been represented by human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, who has since been forced to flee Iran after bringing to international attention the case of another of his clients, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Iranian mother of two who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Mostafaei was due to arrive in Norway yesterday to begin a life in exile while continuing his campaigns on behalf of his clients, including Hamidi.

At the same time, human rights activist Peter Tatchell has written to the foreign secretary, William Hague, urging him to contact the chief justice of Iran and ask that the execution be halted.

'Ebrahim's case is evidence that innocent heterosexual people can be sentenced to death on false charges of homosexuality [in Iran],'  said Tatchell, co-founder of the London-based gay rights group OutRage. Hamidi was arrested two years ago in the suburbs of the western city of Tabriz in the East Azerbaijan province after a fight with members of another family. Three of his friends were also involved in the incident and were subsequently arrested. Later, the four were accused of homosexual assault on a man and of attempting to abuse him sexually.

A person convicted of homosexuality in Iran can be lashed, hanged or stoned to death. The law includes a variety of penalties for different acts: 99 lashes if two unrelated males sleep "unnecessarily" under the same blanket – even without any sexual contact. A boy raped by an adult man would also be lashed if the court decided that he had "enjoyed" the experience.

After three days in detention, Hamidi confessed to the crime, allegedly under torture. The other three were cleared of all charges when promised by officials that they would be freed if they testified against Hamidi. However, last month Hamidi's alleged victim admitted that he had been under pressure from his parents to make false accusations. Nevertheless the local judiciary has insisted that Hamidi should be executed. "
When you read about such barbarism, think carefully before you leap to judgment.  Remember, we did precisely the same sort of thing in this country during all of our history. In Texas we're still doing this sort of thing.  Read the links in this blawg about juvenile sentencing, false imprisonment and the death penalty.  It's only been a matter of a few years since killing children and the retarded was barred in this country.  In Texas there is very good reason to believe than innocent men were put to death, and all throughout our great country DNA evidence has exonerated many men and women, some sitting on death rows.

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