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The Iranian government maintains that most of these individuals have been charged for forcible sodomy or rape.

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The report also documents instances in which police and allegedly ill-treated and in some cases tortured real or suspected LGBT people, both in public spaces and detention facilities.

Several individuals interviewed made allegations that members of the security forces had sexually assaulted or raped them.

Because of the lack of transparency, Human Rights Watch said, it cannot be ruled out that Iran is sentencing sexual minorities who engage in consensual same-sex relations to death under the guise that they have committed forcible sodomy or rape.

"Iran is not only one of the rare countries that imposes the death penalty for consensual same-sex relations, it also has people sitting on death row who allegedly committed sodomy as minors," Whitson said.

A 25-year-old gay Iranian man, living now in Turkey as a recognized refugee, is one of hundreds of Iranians who in recent years have sought protection in neighboring Turkey on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity.