A 14-year-old was hanged from a tree in Isfahan, Iran, according to unconfirmed reports.
Akbar Zargarzadeh, the young teen, had been at an Islamic boys’ camp when the cleric accused him of being gay.
The mullah told the other boys that the young teen was ‘deserving of death’.
Amir Taheri, a former editor of Iran’s main newspaper Kayhan, first posted the story on Twitter yesterday:
ISFAHAN- 14 year old Akbar Zargarzadeh hanged from tree in Islamic boys’ camp after camp’s mullah accused him of being gay deserving death.
— Amir Taheri (@AmirTaheri4) July 16, 2015
GSN was unable to corroborate or verify the report. We were unable to find a press account of what happened in the Farsi press. And we should note Iranian LGBTI networks have not confirmed the story.
Some critics have questioned Taheri’s reliability.
But when posted, many responded angrily to the young teen’s alleged death.
Benjamin Weinthal, the European Affairs correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, called for the European Union to criticize the murder.
‘Lethal homophobia under self-described moderate [President Hassan] Rouhani,’ Weinthal tweeted.
And Hasan Sari, a journalist based in the Middle East, asked: ‘How is this different from what ISIS does?’
It is illegal to be gay in Iran, with punishments ranging from a lifetime in jail to execution. The government claims it does not execute people for homosexuality, but rather they have been killed over charges of rape or murder.
In 2005, 16-year-old Mahmoud Asgari and 18-year-old Ayaz Marhoni were publicly hanged for being gay.
UPDATE: For clarity, GSN has noted from the outset this report has not been independently verified. Taheri is yet to reply to our questions seeking to substantiate his claims. We urge caution but feel it is in the public interest to report the claims, given they are gaining traction on social media. GSN is in touch with other sources in Iran and is continuing to investigate.