The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has learned that the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, has nullified the impending death sentence of Mr. Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year old Iranian citizen found guilty of multiple counts of anal rape (ighab), allegedly committed when he was 13 years old. The Iranian Chief Justice described the death sentence to be in violation of Islamic teachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics, and the law of the land.
â€śThis is a stunning victory for human rights and a reminder of the power of global protest,â€ť said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRCâ€™s executive director, who on November 5 sent a letter in Persian and English asking that Iranian authorities intervene to halt the execution.
The verdict in Mouloodzadehâ€™s case was questionable from the outset. Although no one ever accused him of rape, the court declared otherwise. All parties involved in the case told the court that their statements during the investigation were either untruthful or coerced. The investigation was also riddled with procedural irregularities.
Recognizing that the death sentence in this case violated both international law and the Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, IGLHRC took action. In addition to writing letters to the Iranian authorities, IGLHRC issued an action alert on November 5, which prompted other human rights advocates to similarly object. Activists from around the world responded by sending over 100 emails demanding an immediate halt to Makvanâ€™s execution. Other human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Iranian Queer Organization issued action alerts of their own.
â€śIt is absolutely imperative that we halt the deplorable use of the death penalty to force social conformity,â€ť said Ettelbrick. â€śWe hope that Makvanâ€™s case and the profound rejection of the death penalty by the Iranian Chief Justice sets the course for the future in Iran.â€ť
After a designated group of judges from the Chief Justiceâ€™s office formally nullifies the courtâ€™s decision, the case will be sent to a local court for retrial.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is a leading human rights organization solely devoted to improving the rights of people around the world who are targeted for imprisonment, abuse or death because of their sexuality, gender identity or HIV/AIDS status. IGLHRC addresses human rights violations by partnering with and supporting activists in countries around the world, monitoring and documenting human rights abuses, engaging offending governments, and educating international human rights officials. A nonprofit, non-governmental organization, IGLHRC is based in New York, with offices in Johannesburg and Buenos Aires.