July 19th, 2009 Headsman
On this date in 2005, two teenagers were hanged in Mashhad, Iran.
Affecting photos of these two youths, their faces etched in fright and grief, their 16- and 18-year-old bodies pitifully boyish next to their executioners, became an immediate worldwide sensation.
These shocking images were quickly followed by a storm of controversy. The crime for which Asgari and Marhoni swung was the rape of a 13-year-old while both the offenders were themselves minors; gay organizations and human rights groups subsequently became mired in contentious dispute over whether (as a factual, legal, or tactical matter) they could be said to have succumbed to a “lethal reign of terror targeting Iranian gays”. For instance, was the conviction reliable, or a pretext? Would these boys actually have self-identified as “gay”?
To that were added charges and countercharges among western campaigners of racism, imperial lickspittle-ism, objective-pro-Islamic-fascism, and the like. Like, awfully convenient that Iran’s longtime dim view of homosexuality has everyone exercised at just the moment bombing Tehran was being openly mooted.
But whatever the text: those pictures. Still, those pictures.
It is certain that both Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were juvenile offenders, whose execution is anathema almost everywhere in the world but Iran — just one of that country’s unique characteristics.
Also on this date
- 2011: A day in the death penalty around the world
- 1776: Jamaican slave rebels
- 1824: Agustin de Iturbide, Emperor of Mexico
- 1824: Alexander Pearce, cannibal convict
Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Children,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Hanged,Homosexuals,Iran,Mature Content,Rape,Ripped from the Headlines,Sex