Iranian hanged despite judge’s ruling nullifying death sentence

Posted on 06 Dec 2007 at 9:27pm
By Staff Reports

Mouloodzadeh, 21, was convicted of committing anal rape when he was 13; Iranian chief justice said sentence violated Islamic teachings

A 21-year-old Iranian man was executed this week, despite an order by the Iranian Chief Justice nullifying his death sentence, according to reports issued Wednesday, Dec. 5, by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Makvan Mouloodzadeh was executed at 5 a.m., Iran Standard Time, on Wednesday at Kermanshah Central Prison. IGLHRC reports indicated neither Mouloodzadeh’s lawyer nor his family were notified about the execution until after it had happened.

Mouloodzadeh was accused of committing anal rape with other young boys when he was 13 years old. However, at his trial, all the witnesses retracted their pre-trial testimonies, saying they lied to authorities under duress. Mouloodzadeh also said he had confessed under coercion and he pleaded not guilty.

Despite that, the Seventh District Criminal Court of Kermanshah in Western Iran found him guilty on June 7, and sentenced him to death. The Iran Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in a ruling issued Aug. 1.

The case caused an international uproar among human rights activists and prompted a letter-writing campaign by IGLHRC and similar actions by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Outrage! and Everyone Group.

In response to the public pressure and following a detailed petition submitted to the Iranian Chief Justice by Mouloodzadeh’s lawyer, Iranian Chief Justice Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi nullified the death sentence in an opinion issued Nov. 10.

The Iranian chief justice said Mouloodzadeh’s death sentence violated Islamic teachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics and the law of the land.

The case was then sent to the Special Supervision Bureau of the Iranian Justice Department, a group of judges who are responsible for reviewing and ordering retrials of flawed cases flagged by the Iranian chief justice. Those judges chose to defy the chief justice’s ruling, ratified the original court’s ruling and ordered the local authorities to carry out the execution, IGLHRC reported.

Mouloodzadeh’s execution came days after a panel at the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 7, 2007

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