A 20-year-old gay man was reportedly brutally murdered by members of his own family in a so-called “honor killing” in Iran last week.
Alireza Fazeli-Monfared had plans to flee the country to Turkey to meet his refugee boyfriend when he was beheaded by his own half-brother and cousins.
Journalist Masih Alinejad tweeted the news on May 7, writing: “Rest in peace Alireza Fazeli Monfared. This 20-year-old beautiful soul from Iran was brutally killed by his brother & cousins for being gay as part of an honour killing.
“Iran’s LGBTQ community is brutalised both by the regime & by bigotry in certain families.”
Fazeli-Monfared had just received an exemption from serving in the military because of “sexual depravities.” The document outed him; Fazeli-Monfared’s family discovered the exemption papers, learning of his sexual orientation.
Under Islamic law in Iran, same-sex relations are illegal and can carry punishment of jail, lashing and in some cases, execution.
Alinejad added these upsetting details in further tweets: “Alireza was killed by being beheaded by his family. After beheading him, the family dumped this poor man’s body under a tree outside of the city of Ahwaz. Alireza was about to flee Iran to join his boyfriend, who’s a refugee waiting for him in Turkey.
“Through its homophobic laws, anti-gay propaganda, and light sentences for honour killings, the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for facilitating the murder of countless members of the LGBTQ community in Iran. This community is yearning to be heard by the world.”
“At 7pm on Tuesday, Alireza had a phone conversation with his mother for the last time,” Aghil Abyat, Alireza’s friend, told the publication IranWire. “Then his half-brother came to him and on the pretext that their father wanted to see him, got him into the car and drove him outside the city.
“There was no news of him until Wednesday when Alireza’s stepbrother called his mother and told her: ‘We have finished him off.’ In other words, he confessed to murdering Alireza. They found his body under some palm trees. It’s now with the medical examiner and his mother has been hospitalised because of the shock.”
The same article cites a report from 6Rang (6 Colors), an “Iranian lesbian and transgender network”, that three suspects were arrested for the killing, two of whom are suspected to be Fazeli-Monfared’s cousins.
Iran requires all its male citizens above the age of 18 to enlist in military service but excepts gay men and transgender women, who are officially cited as having “mental disorders” and “sexual depravities.”