Iran’s regime charges woman with 'normalizing same-sex relations'

The activist, Rezvaneh Mohammad, could face five years in prison.

By
March 4, 2019 17:02
3 minute read.
Iran’s regime charges woman with 'normalizing same-sex relations'

LGBT activists protesting in Istanbul . (photo credit: screenshot)

 
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The Islamic Republic of Iran’s judiciary charged a female equality activist with violating its national security because she sought to “normalize same-sex relations” in a country that imposes capital punishment for homosexuality.

The Iranian lesbian and transgender network group, 6rang, wrote on its website in late February that Rezvaneh Mohammadi’s charges include “collusion against national security by normalizing same-sex relations.” This is the first time that an activist faces such an accusation in Iran. She may be sentenced up to five years imprisonment.”


Volker Beck, a leading German expert and activist on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that “this case is not about homosexuality, it is about freedom.” He said the charge of “collusion against national security by normalizing same-sex relations as an accusation means that in Iran, there is no freedom of expression, no freedom of science or press or religion. This is what the Iranian theocratic regime is standing for.”

“All Muslim associations in the free world and our government should condemn this attack on human dignity by the Iranian so-called justice system,“ said Beck, who played a critical role in securing marriage rights for gays and lesbians in Germany in 2017.

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who is spearheading a United States government campaign to decriminalize homosexuality across the world, helped draw attention to the case of Mohammadi. He tweeted to his 121,000 followers: “Iranian student Rezvaneh Mohammadi was charged with ‘acting against national security by normalizing homophile relationships.’”


According to 6rang, the gender equality activist Mohammadi’s “first court session was held in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court Branch 28 on February 18, 2019, presided by the notorious Judge Moghiseh. Reports indicate not only that Ms. Mohammadi’s lawyer was not given the right to defend his client, he was also refused access to the court file.”

6rang wrote: “She was interrogated for 26 days at ward 209 of Evin prison following her arrest on September 3, 2018, and was later transferred to the woman’s ward on September 29th. She was eventually released on bail.”

The group condemned “the detention of civil rights activists based on such allegations. It violates internationally recognized human rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a party.”

The US-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reported on its website in September 2018 that three women’s rights activists were arrested by Iran’s security forces since in September: attorney Hoda Amid, sociologist Najmeh Vahedi, and gender studies student Rezvaneh Mohammadi.

According to CHRI, “All three women were involved in training workshops on equal marriage rights and other peaceful activities related to women’s rights. They were all arrested at their homes without a warrant.”


Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI’s executive director, said “Iran’s authorities think they can stop people from advocating for women’s rights by locking them up, but unlawful arrests will not silence the growing number of people who are standing up for women’s rights in Iran.”

Radio Farda reported on Friday that the World Bank noted in a study published February 28 that Iran’s ranking for economic equality for women numbers 185 out of 187 countries. Only Saudi Arabia and Sudan are ranked below Iran.

The Jerusalem Post was the first news organization to report in January that Iran publicly hanged a 31-year-old man based on an anti-gay charge.

Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the deputy foreign minister Niels Annen are currently under fire for honoring Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

According to a 2008 British WikiLeaks dispatch, Iran’s mullah regime executed “between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians” since the Islamic revolution.

In 2016, the Post reported that Iran’s regime had executed a gay adolescent that year – the first confirmed execution of someone convicted as a juvenile in the Islamic Republic.

Hassan Afshar, 19, was hanged in Arak Prison in Iran’s Markazi Province on July 18, 2016, after he was convicted of “forced male-to-male anal intercourse” in early 2015.

In 2011, Iran’s regime executed three Iranian men after being found guilty of charges related to homosexuality.

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