Sharia alert: teenagers hanged. I am not minimizing the heinousness of their crime, if they really committed it. I am questioning the punishment, particularly if Outrage!’s accusations are true. From the TimesOnline, with thanks to all who sent this in:
IRAN has publicly hanged two male teenagers convicted of raping a 13-year-old boy at knifepoint. After the Supreme Court upheld the verdict of child rape, they were executed on Tuesday in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad.
The British gay rights group Outrage! has accused Iran of torturing the two into confessing that they had homosexual sex. It believes that the assault charges were a smokescreen to justify killing homosexuals.
Pictures of the hangings, on the ISNA student news agency website, showed the terrified young men crying as they were interviewed by state media in a lorry on the way to the gallows. Another picture showed hangmen in balaclavas tightening the nooses around their necks.
Iran’s religiously conservative judiciary decided that the pair had raped the 13-year-old at knifepoint while he was out cycling in the northeast province of Khorassan. The young men’s ages were not released but Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer for one of them, told ISNA that he was under 18, yet the judiciary had refused to spare him for being too young. The other accused was said to be 18 years old.
Iranian newspapers reported that the two were also given more than 200 lashes for theft and drinking alcohol.