Iran must investigate brutal ‘honour killing’ of young gay man, human rights group says

Alireza Fazeli-Monfared Iran honour killing

Human rights group Amnesty International has called for a full investigation into the brutal “honour killing” of young gay man in Iran.

This month, Alireza Fazeli Monfared, 20, who identified as non-binary gay man, was killed and beheaded by his own family in Iran, when they discovered the military had exempted him from service because of “sexual depravities”.

Amnesty International is now calling for a full investigation into his murder, fearing that the perpetrators will go unpunished as the country criminalises same-sex sexual activity and gender non-conformity.

A full investigation, the human rights group said, would include authorities determining “whether the crime was motivated by hostility and prejudice on the grounds of his gender identity and sexual orientation”.

Although investigators in Iran have confirmed the death of the gay man, no arrests have yet been made.

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director, said in a statement: “Alireza Fazeli Monfared’s brutal murder exposes the deadly consequences of state-fuelled homophobia and is a tragic reminder of the urgent need to repeal laws that criminalise consensual same-sex relations and gender non-conformity.

“These laws foster a permissive climate for homophobic and transphobic hate crimes and legitimise violence, including deadly attacks against people on the grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The Iranian authorities’ brazen disregard for the lives and safety of LGBT+ people and the prevailing climate of impunity for such crimes, raise the alarm that his murder could go unpunished.

“We urge the Iranian authorities to conduct a prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigation into Alireza Fazeli Monfared’s murder and take urgent action to protect LGBT+ people from discrimination, harassment, assaults and other abuses.”

Alongside calls for a full investigation into Monfared’s murder, Amnesty International has published a briefing outlining how LGBT+ people in Iran live in constant fear of persecution and violence, to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May.

Iran criminalises same-sex relations, which are punished by flogging and the death penalty. Gender expression that does not abide by “norms” in the country is also banned.