As a result of rumours a popular Iranian singer could find himself facing execution after being outed as gay, reports the BBC.
Mohsen Lorestani is a Kurdish-Iranian musician and has been accused of homosexual conduct and charged with “corruption on earth,” a charge which carries the death penalty.
BBC journalist Ali Hamedani tweeted on Sunday, October 6 that “A famous Iranian singer from the Kurdish province of Kermanshah has been ‘accused’ of being a homosexual and could face execution. Iran executes gay men”.
According to reports, he allegedly flirted with a man in a private chat conversation on social media. A lawyer for Lorestani says “the alleged incidents happened in a private chat,” while confirming that the singer could be executed.
Iran, a fundamentalist Muslim state, imposes harsh laws regarding homosexuality and had come under scrutiny when leaked documents in 2008 British WikiLeaks dispatch estimated that “between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians” were killed by authorities since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
More recent, the killings of two teenagers made international headlines. Hasan Afshar, age 17, was arrested by police for homosexual conduct in 2014. He was held captive for nearly two years before facing a public hanging. The same year, Alireza Tajiki, only 15, was also executed after confessing to being gay while being tortured.
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, endorsed the public executions, telling a reporter for the German site Deutsche Welle, “Our society has moral principles. And we live according to these principles … These are moral principles concerning the behaviour of people in general. And that means that the law is respected and the law is obeyed”.