Content Warning: Violence, murder, homophobia.
Amnesty International is calling for a full investigation into the horrifying murder of Alireza Fazeli Monfared, a 20 year-old gay man killed in Iran earlier this month.
There are fears that his killing will go unpunished in a country where consensual same-sex sexual conduct and gender non-conformity is criminalised and stigmatised.
It has been reported that the murder occurred after his sexuality was discovered by his family when his military exemption service card arrived. In Iran, military service is mandatory but a person can be excused under a medical category for mental health disorders- which in the country includes being gay.
IranWire reports that Monfared was not home when the card arrived and his brother saw it. It has been reported that he was then taken by his brother and some other family members to the nearby town of Borumi under the pretext that his father wanted to speak with him. They then beheaded him.
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said: “Alireza Fazeli Monfared’s brutal murder exposes the deadly consequences of state-fuelled homophobia and is a tragic reminder of the urgent need to repeal laws that criminalise consensual same-sex relations and gender non-conformity.
“These laws foster a permissive climate for homophobic and transphobic hate crimes and legitimise violence, including deadly attacks against people on the grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The Iranian authorities’ brazen disregard for the lives and safety of LGBTI people and the prevailing climate of impunity for such crimes, raise the alarm that his murder could go unpunished.
“We urge the Iranian authorities to conduct a prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigation into Alireza Fazeli Monfared’s murder and take urgent action to protect LGBTI people from discrimination, harassment, assaults and other abuses.”
According to those interviewed by Amnesty who had known Alireza Fazeli Monfared well – including his partner and a close friend – the 20 year-old had faced years of homophobic and transphobic harassment, as well as death threats by several male relatives, because he did not conform to Iran’s binary socio-cultural gender stereotypes and “norms”. According to these sources, Alireza Fazeli Monfared had never reported such incidents to the police out of a fear of facing violence and prosecution at the hands of the authorities.
LGBTQ+ people in Iran face pervasive discrimination, live in constant fear of harassment, arrest and criminal prosecution, and remain vulnerable to violence and persecution based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
Under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is criminalised and punished by penalties ranging from flogging to the death penalty.
If you are looking to reach out to someone for support or advice or just to talk, there are numerous services available for LGBTQ+ people listed below, and many offer instant messaging support.
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