Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says an Iranian LGBTQ rights activist detained since last October has been slapped with new charges of "trafficking Iranian women" to Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The intelligence organization of the IRGC made the accusation in a statement on Monday about Zahra Mansouri Hamdani, also known as Sareh, who was previously arrested on charges linked to an appearance in a BBC documentary on gay rights in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The statement described her "the leader of the biggest gang of Iranian girls trafficking to Erbil,” saying that following months of surveillance, the IRGC intelligence tracked her to the trafficking gangs that had “sold hundreds of Iranian women and girls” to customers in Erbil.
The IRGC also accuses her of promoting homosexuality, gambling and fraud as well as de-stigmatization of illicit sexual relations in cyberspace.
The organization added that her gang was run in collaboration with a man identified as "Alireza Farjadi-Kia" and another woman that goes only by the name "Kati".
She was arrested while trying to cross the border and seek asylum in Turkey on October 27, 2021. She was held in solitary confinement for 53 days, during which, the Revolutionary Guard subjected her to intense interrogations, insulted her identity and appearance, threatened to execute her and to take away custody of her children. On January 16, Sareh was accused of “spreading corruption on earth,” including through "promoting homosexuality”, “communication with anti-Islamic Republic media channels” and “promoting Christianity.”
Rights group Amnesty International appealed to Iran’s Chief Justice Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei on January 25, calling for release.