It also now seems that an article from the Iranian Students News Agency, translated and circulated by the London gay group OutRage!, was not the first article about this case, as OutRage! believed, and may not have been translated correctly.
OutRage! had reported that the ISNA article said the boys were executed for consensual gay sex. But HRW says the headline and the first sentence of the article make it clear they were hanged for "sodomy by coercion" ("lavat beh onf"). "Lavat beh onf," HRW said, is an archaic phrase that is not the normal way to refer to rape.
"Ultimately," said HRW's Long, "one has to ask what is the basis for believing that the boys were tried for consensual sodomy. It boils down to an English-language article on the Iran Focus Web site having made no mention of the rape charge. There is no other substantial evidence."
According to a new interview with the publishers of the Iranian gay magazine MAHA conducted by the Web site GayRussia.ru, it is not.
The magazine is distributed from inside Iran via e-mail in PDF format. (If it were published on the Web or in traditional magazine format, it likely would be blocked or banned by the government.) The magazine has 600 subscribers.
"After eight months of hard work, eight issues and four supplements have appeared, covering issues such as gays and family, depression among GLBT, a report about lesbians in Iran, etc.," the publishers wrote in the e-mail interview. "MAHA also publishes a separate supplement for gay aid and to help GLBT to find a friend. Today MAHA has two editors, one gay and one lesbian, and MAHA's readers are all over the country and even some Iranian GLBT in exile."
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