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IRAN: Man executed on ‘Sodomy’ charges in Rajaei Shahr Prison

Man executed on ‘Sodomy’ charges in Rajaei Shahr Prison

Iranwire (08.07.2022) – https://bit.ly/3Rli1rC – On June 29, Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported that 10 convicts had been executed at Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj near Tehran. Of these 10, one was sentenced to death for “sodomy by force” and the other for “rape”. The other eight were executed for murder.

 

The two men executed in relation to sexual offences have been identified as Iman Safari-Rad and Mehdi Khlagaldi. The executions were not reported by official sources or media outlets inside Iran.

 

The killings are the latest in a series of reported incidents at Rajaei Shah Prison linked to homosexuality, a capital punishment in Iran. Last year, on October 20, HRANA reported that around 15 inmates charged over consensual homosexual relations were being kept on Wards 2 and 10, most of whom had yet to be tried. 

 

From the moment the prisoners were brought in they are harassed and threatened by inmates charged with violent crimes. Gay or bisexual men in Iranian jails are often treated as prey, and sometimes held for two to five years before setting foot in a courtroom. 

 

Despite all efforts by human rights activists and the LGBT+ community throughout the years, the amended version of the Islamic Penal Code, which was passed in 2013, kept the provision that sexual relations between two men or two women fall into the category of Hudud, meaning the set punishment for them is mandatory and is not left to the discretion of the judge (Ta’zir). Depending on the sex of the accused, the specifics of the alleged relations and whether the accused is a repeat offender, the punishment can range from 100 lashes to execution.

 

Article 109 of the 1990 Islamic Penal Code made the punishment for sexual relations between two men a hanging offence. But the current Islamic Penal Code is slightly different. Article 234 states that the “passive” party must be sentenced to death, regardless of his marital status, while the “active” party will only be sentenced to death if he is married or he has committed the act by force. According to Note 1 of the Article, an “active” non-Muslim party with a Muslim “passive” party shall also be sentenced to death.

 

The law on lesbianiam is slightly different. First-time offenders face the lesser, but still horrific, punishment of 100 lashes and those who are prosecuted for a third time face the death penalty. The 2013 version of the Penal Code, however, describes lesbian sex in a very specific way that limits the number of cases it is applicable to.

 

To avoid international pressure over its barbaric treatment of the LGBT+ community, the Iranian judiciary frequently presents cases of consensual sex between men as rape or “sodomy by force”, or tacks on ohter charges such as drug trafficking. Because of this, there are no accurate figures on Iranian citizens who have been executed for having consensual homosexual relations.

Photo credits: Iranwire

 





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SAUDI ARABIA: Outcry as Saudi Arabia executes young Shia man for ‘rebellion’

Outcry as Saudi Arabia executes young Shia man for ‘rebellion’

Rights groups say Mustafa bin Hashim bin Isa al-Darwish was a minor when alleged offences committed

 

The Guardian (15.06.2021) – https://bit.ly/3zthvPh – Saudi Arabia has executed a young man who was convicted on charges stemming from his participation in an anti-government rebellion by minority Shia Muslims. A leading rights group said his trial was “deeply flawed”.

 

It was unclear whether Mustafa bin Hashim bin Isa al-Darwish, 26, was executed for crimes committed as a minor, according to Amnesty International. The rights group said he was detained in 2015 for alleged participation in riots between 2011 and 2012.

 

The official charge sheet does not specify the dates his alleged crimes took place, meaning he could have been 17 at the time, or just turned 18.

 

The government maintains he was convicted and executed for crimes committed above the age of 19, though no specific dates for his alleged crimes have been given.

 

Last year, the kingdom halted its practice of executing people for crimes committed as a minor.

 

The interior ministry said he was executed on Tuesday after being found guilty of participating in the formation of an armed terrorist cell to monitor and target to kill police officers, attempting to kill police officers, shooting at police patrols and making molotov cocktails to target police.

 

Other charges included participating in armed rebellion against the ruler and provoking chaos and sectarian strife. The crimes allegedly transpired in the eastern province, where most Saudi oil is concentrated and home to a significant indigenous Shia population. The execution was carried out in Dammam, the province’s administrative capital.

 

At the height of arab spring uprisings across the region, the kingdom experienced unrest among Saudi Shia youth who took to the eastern province’s impoverished streets of Qatif. They demanded jobs, better opportunities and an end to discrimination by the kingdom’s ultraconservative state-backed Sunni institutions and clerics.

 

Saudi security forces backed by armoured vehicles set up checkpoints and suppressed the protests, rounding up an unknown number of protesters. The government later razed homes belonging to Shia residents of the restive city of al-Awamiyah in 2017 in an area that was several hundred years old. Officials said the al-Musawara district had become a hideout for local militants, and promised to develop the area.

 

Over the years, numerous executions of Shia Muslims involved in violent protests have been carried out.

 

In 2019, Saudi Arabia executed 37 citizens, of which 34 were identified as Shia, in a mass execution for alleged terrorism-related crimes. In 2016, the kingdom executed 47 people in one day also for terrorism-related crimes. Among those executed was prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death sparked protests from Pakistan to Iran and the ransacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Saudi-Iran ties have not recovered and the embassy remains shuttered.

 

The kingdom has in the past implicitly accused Iran of being behind armed Shia groups in Saudi Arabia, saying they are acting “under instructions from abroad”.

 

Amnesty International said al-Darwish, who was arrested when he was 20, was placed in solitary confinement, held incommunicado for six months and denied access to a lawyer until the beginning of his trial two years later by the specialized criminal court in Riyadh, established to try terrorism cases.

 

The supreme court upheld al-Darwish’s death sentence. Amnesty International said his case was then referred to the presidency of state security, which is overseen directly by the royal court and over which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wields immense power. The Saudi monarch, King Salman, ratifies executions, most of which are carried out by beheading.

 

The kingdom has carried out 26 executions so far this year, according to the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights. That’s compared with 27 throughout all of 2020. The sharp drop in executions last year was largely due to changes that ended executions for nonviolent drug-related crimes.

 

Photo credits: Cliff Owen/AP





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MENA REGION: Middle East home to 88% of global executions in 2020

Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia occupy four of the top five positions globally according to data from Amnesty International. People executed by Riyadh (down 85%) and Baghdad (down 50%) are decreasing. Dizzying increase in Cairo of more than 300%. The global figure is the lowest in the last decade.

 

AsiaNews (21.04.2021) – https://bit.ly/2QnG6TV – Four of the top five countries at a global level – excluding China, which does not provide official data – to preform executions last year are in the Middle East.

 

Amnesty International ‘s latest report reveals that 88% of the total executions worldwide in 2020 took place in Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Tehran, moreover, is the first in the world for people executed in relation to the population.

 

The global figure of executed death sentences is the lowest in the last decade. However, the numbers do not include the executions in China, where there are thousands of annual executions and the use of capital punishment is widespread, but the figures remain state secrets.

 

According to the activist group, there is a “ruthless and chilling persistence” of executions in the Middle East, in spite of the global Covid-19 pandemic which for the first months of last year had resulted in a partial reduction.

 

Analyzing the data, the overall number fell from 579 in 2019 to 437 in 2020. Among the countries that recorded the most consistent decline, Saudi Arabia with a minus 85% (27 in total) and in Iraq with a reduction of 50% (45 executions).

 

However, the decline in some countries is overshadowed by the 300% increase recorded in Egypt, which executed 107 people in one year, becoming the third nation in the world. Of these, at least 23 were convicted of crimes related to “political violence” within unfair trials and with “confessions” extrapolated by force, combined with other psychological and physical abuse and harassment.

 

Iran, with at least 246 official executions, is the second nation in the world behind China, whose numbers remain unknown. For activists, Tehran adopts an increasing use of the death penalty as a “weapon of political repression” against dissidents, protesters and members of minorities.

 

Photo credits: picture-alliance/dpa/A.Abdullah


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