Twenty-year-old Ali Fazeli Monfared of Ahvaz, Iran, was kidnapped and beheaded by members of his family May 4, in an alleged “honor killing” after his military exemption card revealed that he was turned away from military service because he was gay, the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network 6rang reported.
Monfared, known to family and friends as Alireza, had reportedly been planning to migrate to Turkey, where his boyfriend was already living as a refugee when Monfared was murdered. Three men have reportedly been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad reported that the alleged murderers are Monfared’s half-brother and cousins.
The men accused of murdering Monfared are alleged to have contacted his mother on May 5 to inform her that his body could be found next to a palm tree. It is alleged that Monfared’s half-brother had earlier found his military exemption card in an envelope.
Under Iranian law, all male citizens are required to report for military service at age 18, but the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps can issue military exemption cards to recruits who voluntarily indicate that they are homosexual. Iranian LGBT activists have argued that the exemption makes queer Iranians more vulnerable, because law enforcement, judicial officials, education officials, and employers. Military exemption cards are among the few acceptable forms of identification used in Iran.
The Washington Blade reports that the US State Department has condemned the murder as “appalling” and called upon the Iranian government to protect LGBTQI+ citizens.
“Iran must do more to ensure the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons are protected,” a State Department spokesperson said to the Blade. “We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Monfared’s loved ones.”
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