Human Rights group Amnesty International has condemned Iran for sentencing two LGBTQ activists to death on charges of "corruption on earth through the promotion of homosexuality."
On Tuesday, Amnesty called on the Islamic Republic “to immediately quash the convictions and death sentences,” and release Zahra Sedighi-Hamedani and Elham Choubdar.
“Iran's authorities must end persecution of LGBTI people now,” the group added. The verdict was issued by the Revolutionary Court of the city of Orumiyeh (Urmia), in West Azarbaijan province against Zahra Sedighi-Hamedani (31), known as Sareh, Elham Choubdar (24). Another woman, Soheila Ashrafi (52), was involved in the joint case, but her verdict has not been issued yet.
In July, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Sedighi-Hamadani has been slapped with new charges of "trafficking Iranian women" to Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, referring to her as Zahra Mansouri Hamedani. She was first arrested on charges linked to an appearance in a BBC documentary on gay rights in Iraqi Kurdistan.
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.”
Amnesty International appealed to Iran’s Chief Justice Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei on January 25, calling for her release.