Iran's chief justice frees gay teen, Iran kills him anyway

Via Bill Amos, the latest in a continuing series of why there are no gays in Iran. This one has added nuance: Instead of the usual “gay teen falsely accused of rape to justify execution,” here the rape and homosexuality might both be trumped up to warrant killing him for yet a third reason. As in any good Kafka story, no one’s ever really sure of the charges.

“This is a shameful and outrageous travesty of justice and international human rights law,” said Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, one of a number of human rights watchdogs that had focused attention on the case. Just last month, Ettelbrick had labeled the reversal of the young man’s death sentence a “stunning victory for human rights and a reminder of the power of global protest.”…

Hossein Alizadeh, a spokesman for the gay and lesbian rights group, said the execution appeared to have been hurriedly carried out by local authorities to avoid further interference by Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Sharudi, Iran’s chief justice. It was Sharudi, in the wake of a lengthy appeal from Eghbali and growing international pressure, who ruled Nov. 10 that the trial and sentencing of Mouloodzadeh violated Iranian law and Islamic teachings.

Mouloodzadeh was convicted at a closed trial in June of numerous acts of rape and sodomy that allegedly occurred when he was 13, charges that were initiated by an angry cousin. Homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran, but only under a strict legal protocol, and the alleged sex partners and rape victims all later denied the charges against Mouloodzadeh. But the trial judge used a legal maneuver to find Mouloodzadeh guilty and sentence him to death anyway. Some observers believe the case was really rooted in retaliation for anti-government political activity by relatives of the defendant.

Hangings are usually done in public but they kept this one hush-hush so that the courts wouldn’t find out.

Exit question: Progress, of a sort, in that the courts did their best?