Who Was Ali Fazeli Monfared? Man Allegedly Beheaded by His Family for Being Gay

Alireza "Ali" Fazeli Monfared, a 20-year-old Iranian, was allegedly killed by three male relatives this month after they learned he had been exempted from military service for being gay.

Fazeli Monfared, from Ahvaz in southwest Iran, was reportedly killed on May 4 after the family members opened a letter from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps saying he had been exempted from compulsory two-year military service because of his sexual orientation, London-based broadcaster Iran International said on May 8.

The letter reportedly mentioned a clause in the law exempting those with "moral and sexual depravities such as transsexualism."

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Iran under Islamic law, punishable by imprisonment, lashing and even execution.

Fazeli Monfared's partner Aghil Abyat told Iran Wire that the 20-year-old had spoken to his mother for the last time on Tuesday May 4, at around 7 p.m. Fazeli Monfared was then lured to a remote location and "beheaded" by his half-brother and two cousins.

An Iranian LGBT advocacy group, 6rang (six colors), reported that Abyat said Fazeli Monfared's killers had called his mother and told her where his body could be found. He added that the woman had to be hospitalized after discovering that her son's body had been left under some palm trees in a village called Borumi.

The 6rang group told NBC News on Tuesday that no arrests had yet been made in connection with the killing.

BBC Persian reported on May 7 that Fazeli Monfared reportedly feared his family members and was planning to move to Turkey with his partner and seek asylum in Europe.

thinking about this beautiful boy —
alireza fazeli monfared, an iranian 20 year old, was recently killed by his family for being gay. after being exempted from the military for having a “sexual disorder,” his family beheaded him and left him under a tree. rest in heaven pic.twitter.com/tnygFq51qk

— matt (@mattxiv) May 10, 2021

Human rights groups, activists, lawyers and politicians have condemned the killing of Fazeli Monfared.

Scott Wiener, a member of California's State Senate, wrote on Twitter on May 10: "Another LGBTQ Iranian has been brutally murdered—decapitated by his family—for being a gay man. Alireza Fazeli-Monfared was about to flee the country to be with his partner. LGBTQ people are unsafe in so many parts of the world. We cannot be silent."

Firouz M. Naderi, the Iranian-American human rights activist and former NASA director, tweeted: "RIP Alireza Fazeli Monfared. Disgusted with the religion & the culture that tolerates such barbaric acts."

In a statement shared on Instagram, translated by Iran International, 6rang condemned Iran's military for allowing Fazeli Monfared's family to discover his sexuality by mentioning it on his exemption paperwork.

"Alireza's killing as a result of his sexual orientation being stated on his military service [exemption] card has once again provided proof for our warning several years ago about the risks caused by the military service exemption process for gay Iranian men and underlines the need for legislation to prevent these safety risks," it wrote.

Many LGBT Iranians have fled over the border to Turkey in recent years, hoping to gain asylum in Europe.

Demonstrators fight for gay rights in Iran
A demonstration about the persecution of gay people in Iran, taking place in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on July 28, 2007. A young Iranian man was reportedly killed by his family for being gay. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty