YORK, November 14, 2007 – The impending death sentence of 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, has been
halted, it was learned today.
Today, the New York-based
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLRC) has learned
that the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi,
has nullified the sentence, describing the death sentence to be in violation
of Islamic teachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics,
and the law of the land.
“This is a stunning victory for
human rights and a reminder of the power of global protest,” said Paula
Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s executive director, who on November 5 sent a letter in
Persian and English asking that Iranian authorities intervene to halt the
The verdict in Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s
case was questionable from the outset, IGLHRC maintains.
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
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, 2007,
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 Makvan’s execution.
Other human rights organizations,
including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Iranian Queer
Organization issued action alerts of their own.
“It is absolutely imperative that
we halt the deplorable use of the death penalty to force social conformity,”
said Ms. Ettelbrick. “We hope that Makvan’s case and the profound rejection
of the death penalty by the Iranian Chief Justice sets the course for the
future in Iran.”
After a designated group of judges
from the Chief Justice's office formally nullifies the court’s decision, the
case will be sent to a local court for retrial.
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence.
Posted: 14 November 2007 at
22:30 (UK time)