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Man Executed on 'Sodomy' Charges in Rajaei Shahr Prison

July 8, 2022
2 min read
Ten men were hanged at Rajaei Shahr Prison at the end of June, of whom at least one and potentially two were in relation to homosexuality
Ten men were hanged at Rajaei Shahr Prison at the end of June, of whom at least one and potentially two were in relation to homosexuality

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.



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