HEADLINES:

Iranian, 20, killed by family over sexuality: Amnesty

2021-05-14

981 View

+ -

SULAIMANI — A 20-year-old Iranian who identified himself as a non-binary gay person was killed by relatives due to his sexual and gender orientation, Amnesty International said on Thursday (May 13), as a viral campaign backed by celebrities drew attention to his plight.

Amnesty said Alireza Fazeli Monfared was killed by several male relatives earlier in May who dumped his body under a tree. Relatives had previously tried to physically assault him.

It said that the alleged perpetrators had so far not been arrested over the murder, adding that Monfared had in videos alluded to the pressure he had felt.

"Monfared was killed in Iran in connection with his gender expression and sexual orientation," Amnesty said in a tweet.

"No-one should lose their lives because of this. We demand justice and dignity for Alireza and Iran's LGBTI people."

Homosexuality is illegal in Iran and Monfared's killing is being seen as a symbol of the difficulties gay people have in expressing themselves in the country.

"The despicable murder of Alireza Fazeli Monfared -- reportedly for his sexual orientation -- is the result of the Iranian government continuing to perpetuate falsities about homosexuality," tweeted the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.

"No human should be discriminated against or harmed for their sexual orientation."

Celebrities have also added their voice: "My heart is broken hearing the story of Alireza Fazeli Monfared #restinpower," wrote US singer Demi Lovato on her Instagram account.

Persian-language media outside of Iran, including the US-based Iranwire, have said that Monfared was killed on May 4 outside the city of Ahvaz in the Khuzestan province.

The Iranian lesbian and transgender network 6Rang (6 Colors) said in a statement that Monfared had been "kidnapped by a group of men from his family, beheaded, and found the next day."

It said his family had found out about Monfared's sexual orientation as it had been written on a card exempting him from military service. His half-brother had opened the envelope when it arrived and found out.

According to the network, citing Monfared's partner who lives in Turkey, some men had been arrested and charged with murder.

"The circumstances surrounding Alireza's murder reaffirm our concerns regarding the potential dangers of the sexual orientation exemption (from military service) to young men in Iran," said 6Rang.

(NRT Digital Media/AFP)