Two gay teenagers have been publicly executed in Iran for the crime' of homosexuality. One youth was aged 18 and the other was a minor under the age of 18. The youths were hanged on the Tuesday 19 July 2005 in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in north east Iran. Iran enforces Islamic Sharia law, which dictates the death penalty for gay sex. Both men admitted to having gay sex but claimed in their defence that most young boys had sex with each other and that they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death. Prior to their execution, the teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes. Their length of detention suggests that they committed the so-called offences more than a year earlier, when they were possibly around the age of 16. Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the youngest boy, had appealed that he was too young to be executed and that the court should take into account his tender age. However, the Supreme Court in Tehran rejected the argument and ordered him to be hanged. Under the Iranian penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be hanged. Three other young gay Iranians are being hunted by the police, but they have gone into hiding and cannot be found. If caught, they will also face execution. "This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran. The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder, said Peter Tatchell from gay human rights group OutRage! "According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. "Britains Labour government is pursuing friendly relations with this murderous regime, including aid and trade. We urge the international community to treat Iran as a pariah state, break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran. Outrage! are urging people to write to the Iranian Ambassador in protest.