Two lesbians and LGBTQ activists sentenced to death

Two lesbians and LGBTQ activists sentenced to death

Two lesbians and activists LGBTQ accused of promotinghomosexualitywere sentenced to death in Iran, activists reported Monday, while urging the international community to prevent their execution. Zahra Sedighi Hamedani, 31, and Elham Chubdar, 24, were sentenced by a court in the city of Urmia, according to the Kurdish human rights organization “Hengaw”. According to the NGO, the two young women were also accused of promoting the Christian religion and of having communicated with a media opposed to the Iranian regime.

The two activists are currently being held in the women’s section of Urmia prison. Another woman, Soheila Ashrafi, 52, from Urmia, targeted by the same charges, was also arrested. She is awaiting her verdict.

A first in Iran

In a press release published Monday on its website Mizan Online, the Judicial Authority confirmed the death sentence of Zahra Sedighi Hamedani and Elham Chubdar, for “corruption on earth”. This is the most serious charge in the Iranian Penal Code. “We now urge Germany and other foreign governments to put pressure” on Iran to achieve the activists’ release, said Shadi Amin, coordinator of Iranian LGBTQ rights organization 6Rang. “. “This is the first time that a woman has been sentenced to death in Iran because of her sexual orientation,” she said.

The fate of a activist A leading pro-LGBTQ Iranian, Sedighi Hamedani – known as Sareh – has also been a source of great concern for several months. She was arrested in October 2021 by Iranian security forces as she attempted to flee to neighboring Turkey. Sedighi Hamedani was then imprisoned in solitary confinement for almost two months.

Sedighi Hamedani was allegedly tortured

According to the NGO Hengaw, she was not allowed to see a lawyer during her detention in Iran, agents threatened to execute her, insulted her physical appearance, and warned her that she could lose her custody of her two children. In January, Amnesty International said the charges against the activist relate to her social media advocacy for LGBTQ people and her appearance in a BBC documentary aired in May 2021 about the persecution of LGBTQ people in Iraqi Kurdistan, where she is. found.

Before leaving Iraqi Kurdistan, where she had been detained, Sedighi Hamedani had sent videos to the NGO 6Rang, to be made public if she failed to find shelter. “We, the LGBTQ community, are suffering. Whether it leads to death or freedom, we will stay true to ourselves,” she says in one such video. “I hope to find freedom,” she adds, also claiming to have been tortured, in particular by electrocution, while she was detained in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Human rights defenders accuse Iran of currently waging a wave of repression affecting all sections of society. These activists denounce in particular arrests targeting the Baha’i religious minority, the increase in the number of executions in the country and the arrest of foreign nationals.

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