On July 19 in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Iran, two teenagers, Ayaz Marhoni and Mahmoud Asgari, were put to death for a crime involving homosexual intercourse. Asgari, at least, was underage at the time of the offense. Before the execution Marhoni and Asgari were detained for approximately fourteen months and received 228 lashes each for drinking, disturbing the peace and theft. Despite appeals from the defendants’ lawyers and protests by Iranian human rights activists such as Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Supreme Court upheld the verdict and sentence, which was carried out by public hanging.
The hangings were first brought to international attention by the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), a state-controlled wire service. A brief article posted on ISNA’s website on the day of the execution included three photographs of the youths. One depicts them blindfolded on the gallows with two hooded men securing nooses around their necks. In another they are visibly shaken and in tears as they are interviewed by journalists en route to the hanging.