Public execution in Iran

09 March 2006 :

Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk planned to send Iranian homosexual asylum-seekers back home after cancelling a six-month reprieve, a letter to parliament revealed.
The Netherlands had granted the reprieve for gay Iranians after reports that two homosexual teenagers were hanged in northeastern Iran in July 2005.  
According to the immigration minister the Iranian government had made it clear that the teenagers were not hanged because they were homosexual but because they were found guilty of the abduction and rape of a minor.
In the letter Verdonk said that it was now clear "that there is no question of executions or death sentences based solely on the fact that a defendant is gay", adding that homosexuality was never the primary charge against people.
Iran's Islamic law imposes the death penalty for the offence of consensual sodomy, when the act is repeated and when the offender is judged to be an adult of sound mind.
Despite this law Verdonk said research from the Dutch foreign ministry showed that "it is not completely impossible for gay men and women to function in Iranian society lthough it is important not to be to open about your sexual orientation". The Dutch gay rights organisation COC branded the minister's decision as "revolting". According to COC the minister based her decision too much on the explanations of Tehran and not enough on the actual situation on the ground.

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