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December 7, 2007

Young Iranian Man Executed for Alleged Sex Crime Committed When He Was Just 13

Makvan Mouloodzadeh was executed on Dec. 5 for allegedly committing acts of anal rape (sodomy) with another young boy when he was only 13 years old.

At the trial, the witnesses recanted pre-trial testimony because they were made under duress and Mouloodzadeh stated that his confession was coerced.  Despite the lack of witnesses, he was convicted and sentenced to death on June 7, 2007.  His conviction was upheld on appeal by the Supreme Court.

He was executed despite demonstrated international outrage (led by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch, and other well known groups), through a letter writing campaign.  Due to this international pressure, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court overturned the initial affirmation of the conviction.  "In his November 10, 2007 opinion (1/86/8607), 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."  See IGLHRC Press Release "Iran:  Young Man Executed for Alleged Sex Crime"

However, the "Special Supervision Bureau of the Iranian Justice Department" reinstated the conviction and he was subsequently executed at the age of 21.

This is an outrage. 

The "evidence" presented at this trial could not possibly have been sufficient to convict the defendant of a criminal act.  According to the journalist who covered the trial, "[t]he judge did not bother to order medical examinations to see if rape had taken place, nor did he bother to order medical examinations to see if torture of the witnesses had taken place . . . The judge's verdict of guilty, and his sentence of Makwan to death, was based purely on his personal speculation[.]"  See Gay City News coverage (12/06/07).

Even if the defendant in this case committed non-consensual sodomy with other children (which is not at all clear due to the fact that none of the witnesses would testify at trial), and the government could prove that he committed the crime (also not clear that this occurred here), how can a 13 year old be sentenced to death?  International law prohibits imposing the death penalty against children. See IGLHRC Action Alert.  Sentencing this child to death, especially based on the circumstances of this particular "trial" is unconscionable and constitutes the most extreme form of cruel and unusual punishment imaginable.  This is just a speculation on my part, but I would guess that if this child had been accused of raping a young girl, he would not be punished in this manner.  It seems that this young man, just 21 years old, was executed because he was gay. 

December 7, 2007 in Other | Permalink


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