[JURIST] A spokesman for the Iranian Judiciary [official website] said Wednesday that 20 sex offenders and violent criminals will be executed by hanging over the next few days. Among the condemned are at least 15 arrested in May during a crackdown on "public morals" [HRW press release]. Some were arrested for homosexual conduct or alcohol consumption. Although judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told the Guardian that "thugs convicted of rape, sodomy, and assault and battery" will be executed, it is unknown if any of the condemned are being hanged solely for engaging in homosexual acts.
Iran has faced increasing international criticism [JURIST report], from international rights advocates - including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour - following the stoning execution of a man convicted of adultery at the beginning of the month. Iran Wednesday announced an investigation into the judge [JURIST report] who ordered the execution. Jamshidi suggested Thursday that the stoning sentence was upheld by higher authorities, seeking to show that Iran is unfazed by international pressure. The Guardian has more.