Queer Iranians have bravely marched with pride flags after young gay man Alireza Fazeli-Monfared was murdered by his own family in a suspected homophobic “honour killing”.
Fazeli-Monfared, 20, was murdered earlier this month by his brother and two cousins after they discovered his sexuality.
In messages to friends, Fazeli-Monfared said the family members had threatened him before his death.
He wanted to flee to Turkey to live with his partner and seek asylum. Just days before he was due to leave, the family members killed him.
Now in a brave display of protest, two LGBTQ activists have flown pride flags in the street and spoken out about the harrowing crime.
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist and journalist, published the footage with permission on Twitter.
‘We have the right to live and fall in love’
The activists say, “In memory of all victims of violence fighting for their freedom: we exist, we’re humans and we do fall in love.
“We’re in Iran now. We’re LGBTQI. We know that we could be arrested, killed, executed for doing this.
“We exist, and just like many others, have two eyes, feet, hands, we fall in love.
“Clerics consider us ‘corrupters of the Earth’. State TV censors us. The education system says nothing about us.
“We exist. We fall in love. We’ve not harmed anyone. We only mind our own business, but they call us ‘corrupters of the Earth’.
“They make fun of us, or even kill us when they find out about our sexuality.
“Masih, we exist and we will fight until we’re victorious. Let people see us. We, too, have the right to live and fall in love.”
“We’re Iranian LGBTQIs, we exist and we fall in love. Let that sink in”
After the tragic murder of #AlirezaFazeliMonfared in Iran by his family for being gay, Iranian LGBTQI+ activists are taking to the streets, secretly filming themselves and sending me videos.
Be their voice pic.twitter.com/mXSNZcXcS4
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) May 12, 2021
Alinejad wrote, “After the tragic murder of [Fazeli-Monfared] in Iran by his family for being gay, Iranian LGBTQI+ activists are taking to the streets, secretly filming themselves and sending me videos.
“Be their voice.”
Amnesty International demands full investigation into murder
Human rights group Amnesty International says Alireza Fazeli-Monfared’s murder “exposes the deadly consequences of state-fuelled homophobia.”
The group has called for a full investigation into the brutal crime. Amnesty fear the perpetrators will escape punishment, as the country criminalises same-sex sexual activity.
Amnesty said authorities must determine “whether the crime was motivated by hostility and prejudice on the grounds of his gender identity and sexual orientation”.
Middle East and North Africa deputy director Diana Eltahawy said the gay man’s death is “a tragic reminder of the urgent need to repeal laws criminalising consensual same-sex relations and gender non-conformity.”
“These laws foster a permissive climate for homophobic and transphobic hate crimes and legitimise violence,” Eltahawy said.
“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.
“[Authorities must also] take urgent action to protect LGBT+ people from discrimination, harassment, assaults and other abuses.”
Iran threatens the death penalty for homosexuality
LGBTIQ people in Iran face pervasive discrimination, live in the constant fear of harassment, arrest and criminal prosecution.
Iran’s Islamic Penal Code criminalises consensual same-sex sexual conduct with punishments ranging from flogging to the death penalty.
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