Makwan Moloudzadeh, now aged 21, is staring death in the face in Iran. He’s been convicted of raping a 13 year old boy and is being sentenced to death. Only thing is, he was also 13 when the alleged incident took place.
Makwan was arrested on 1 October 2006 in Paveh, in the western province of Kermanshah. He was held in the prison there, where he was interrogated and abused. On 7 June 2007 he was sentenced to death.
The witnesses and the two people who initially pressed charges against him have since withdrawn their claims.
During his trial he always maintained his innocence, and during his incarceration in Paveh he was apparently forced into confessing to having a sexual relationship with a boy in 1999. Afterwards he went on hunger strike to protest against his ill-treatment. Before he was even on trial or convicted of the crime his head was shaven and he was taken through the streets of Paveh on a donkey, so townspeople could throw things at him and hurl abuse.
The treatment of this man is abominable for so many reasons. Even under Iran’s civil code he should have only been looking at 74 lashes as punishment, given that he was a minor at the time of the offence. However, the judge made use of a legal loophole known as “judge’s knowledge” which overrides such laws.
International law strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed when they were under the age of 18, however according to Amnesty International Iran has executed at least 24 child offenders since 1990, and at least 78 child offenders are sitting on death row right now.
Makes you realise just how far there is to go in the fight for gay and human rights.