There are renewed fears Iran is again cracking down on gay men with Human Rights Watch reporting three men have recently been handed the death sentence for homosexual activity.

According to Human Rights Watch, the charges against the men were for incidents which occurred when they were under 18-years-old and therefore still children.

The three men, from different parts of Iran, were found guilty of ‘lavat’, or sexual conduct with another man, and will be executed on an unknown date.

HRW called for an immediate halt to the planned executions.

“Killing people for what they did as children is wrong and repellent, and killing them for alleged homosexual conduct is just as wrong and repellent,” Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson said.

“The Iranian government has flouted its most basic human rights obligations in allowing these cruel death sentences.”

The men were sentenced to death despite a requirement under Iran’s shari’a-based law that sexual offences require a confession repeated four times or the testimony of four male witnesses.

An ‘offender’, however, can still be sentenced at a judge’s discretion. This occurred in two of the three cases.

According to Human Rights Watch, Iran leads the world in executing juvenile offenders, with at least seven under 18-year-olds put to death in 2008, and at least three so far this year.

In October the United Nations General Assembly called on Iran to abolish the execution of people under 18-years-old at the time of their offence.

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