Van Bommel urges protest against execution of Iranian homosexuals

15 May 2012

Van Bommel urges protest against execution of Iranian homosexuals

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel today urged Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal to protest against the threatened execution of four homosexuals in Iran. It is not uncommon for homosexuals to be executed in Iran, but generally after being found guilty of rape. In this case anal intercourse itself, however, was explicitly stated to be the reason for the sentence. Van Bommel has asked the minister to summon the Iranian ambassador and protest against the execution. 'It is unacceptable that people are being put to death as a result of their sexual orientation,’ he says. ‘Rosenthal must exert the strongest diplomatic pressure and do all he can to have this death penalty overturned.'

According to Iranian human rights organisation HRANA, the criminal law in Iran makes no distinction between rape and consensual anal intercourse between men. Trials of these cases are, however, held behind closed doors, so that it is impossible for outsiders to judge the grounds upon which people are judged, Human Rights Watch noted in a report in 2011.

Harry van BommelVan Bommel wants the minister to look into whether an appeal is still possible against the court’s decision. ‘Homosexuality is in itself not illegal in Iran but the manner of this prosecution will force gays increasingly to stay in the closet. During the last five months at least five homosexuals have been hanged in Iran. This must be stopped immediately, and international pressure can help bring this about.’

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