Iran arrested more than thirty men between the ages of 16 and 30 at a private party in Isfahan last week, all of whom are suspected of being homosexuals.
According to the Jerusalem Post, authorities raided the party in Iran’s Bahadoran District and fired their guns while seizing the men.
Canada-based non-profit Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR) reported that the men were arrested and charged with sodomy, drinking alcohol, and using psychedelic drugs. IRQR reported that the men will also “be sent to Esfahan’s Medical Jurisprudence department for anal examination in order to provide evidence of homosexual acts to the court.”
The group issued a statement responding to the incident:
Last Thursday around 8:30 pm, Esfahan’s police raided a private party in Bahadoran, the Garden region of Esfahan. After firing several gunshots, they arrested more than 30 men apparently between the ages of 16 and 30 for being homosexual.
IRQR received several reports in last few days and were able to confirm that police attacked guests and physically beat them. Police detained them all at the Basij (Revolutionary Guard Militia) Station and then transferred them to Esfahan’s Dastgerd Prison. A few people managed to escape and we received reports that there were several heterosexual individuals among those arrested.
According to IRQR, Iran’s Basij, or paramilitary, forces notified relatives of the detained individuals that their sons were arrested for sodomy several days afterward. Although a special persecutor has reportedly been assigned to their cases, many Iranian prisoners do not receive a fair trial.
Iran is documented for persecuting homosexuals.
Breitbart News reported that since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Iranian regime has executed more than 4,000 LGBT people.
In 2007, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have it.”
Shortly after delivering his remarks, Ahmadinejad’s media adviser, Mohammad Kalhor, told Reuters that American media simply misunderstood the president. “What Ahmadinejad said was not a political answer,” Kalhor told Reuters. “He said that, compared to American society, we don’t have many homosexuals.”
Under Sharia law in Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death. If two men or women are seen kissing in public, they may be punished by flogging. Often, people who are found to be gay or suspected of engaging in homosexual acts will be hung. The Hadiths also mandate death for homosexuals.
“It is outrageous that the European Union is cozying up to the Iranian regime for trade and ignores the deadly homophobia, the overall disastrous human rights situation, the latest execution and arrest waves and the regime’s promotion of antisemitism and support for terrorism,” Stefan Schaden, an LGBT rights activist and spokesman for the European “Stop the Bomb campaign,” told the Jerusalem Post. Iran’s Islamist regime with [Hassan] Rouhani as President is anything but ‘moderate.'”
Iran’s human rights record has grown worse under President Hassan Rouhani, who is facing a re-election challenge on May 19.