Iran sentences two gay rights activists to death

Iran’s regime has executed between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians since the nation’s Islamic revolution in 1979.

LGBTQ flag (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
LGBTQ flag
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Islamic Republic of Iran imposed the death penalty on two LGBTQ activists for allegedly promoting homosexuality, human rights organization Hengaw reported on Sunday.

According to Hengaw, an organization that documents human rights violations in Kurdistan, “Zahra Sediqi Hamedani, known as ‘Sareh,’ 31, from Naqadeh, and Elham Chubdar, 24, from Urmia, both activists of the LGBT community, were sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court of Urmia in a joint case on the charge of ‘Corruption on Earth’ through the promoting of homosexuality.”

The Hengaw Human Rights Organization added that “the sentence has been announced to them in the past few days in the women's ward of Urmia Central Prison.”

Urmia is a city in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran.

The independent Iranian news Twitter feed 1500tasvir also reported the sentencing, writing on Sunday that “Homosexual rights activists #Zahra_Seddighi (31) and #Elham Choobdar (24) have been sentenced to death.”

 Flag of Iran in the Nishapur Railway Station square (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Flag of Iran in the Nishapur Railway Station square (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Iran’s regime has executed between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians since the nation’s Islamic revolution in 1979, according to a 2008 British Wikipedia cable.

Iran denied an LGBTQ+ activist a lawyer

Hengaw noted in its report that “Zahra Sediqi Hamadani was deprived of the right to access a lawyer during her detention, and the security agents threatened her with her execution and deprivation of custody of her two children besides verbal harassment and insults to her identity and appearance.”

In addition to "promoting homosexuality," the two women, according to Hengaw, were convicted of  "promoting Christianity" and "communicating with the media opposing the Islamic Republic."

The Jerusalem Post reported in December on the arrest of the lesbian human rights activist Zahra (Sahra).

Peter Tatchell, the British human rights campaigner and LGBTQ+ activist told The Post on Sunday that “Zahra Sediqi Hamedani and Elham Chubdar are both accused of being LGBTQ+ activists and have been sentenced to death on the charge of 'Corruption on Earth' through the promotion of homosexuality. This very grave catch-all charge is often used against critics of the regime and those who express opinions that are not compliant with Islamic orthodoxy. It normally results in execution. 

"Zahra reportedly had no access to a lawyer during her 10 months detention. Iran is notorious for unfair trials and this is very likely the case with these two women."

He added that "They will probably be hanged using the barbaric long, slow strangulation method; much favored by the Iranian regime in order to maximize the victim’s suffering." 

"They will probably be hanged using the barbaric long, slow strangulation method; much favored by the Iranian regime in order to maximize the victim’s suffering."

Peter Tatchell

These cases further highlight the Tehran dictatorship’s ongoing murderous war against LGBTQ+ people, in violation of the principles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The international community must press the Iranian authorities to commute the death sentences and release these women.” 

Prof. Jessica Emami, an Iran expert and research fellow for The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy], said at the time that "from its inception, the Islamic Republic of Iran has treated LGBT+ individuals with despotism and barbarity. LGBT+ Iranians desperate to avert imprisonment and even death seek to escape Iran. Sara was doing just that when she was ensnared by the IRGC militia. Now, the regime is spreading false rumors in the media and scapegoating Sara. I implore human rights organizations to reach out to regime authorities to demand Sara's immediate release."

Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident who fled the Islamic Republic of Iran due to repression, said in December “News like this doesn’t surprise us anymore. The Islamic Republic in Iran interferes in the most private parts of Iranians’ lives. The Islamic Republic wants to make slaves out of us, an army of slaves ready to die for the regime’s ideology. The regime wants to decide for the whole nation, wants to decide even for people’s sexual desire, for the relationship between husbands and wives and the amount of their children, for our believes, for the way we think. The regime decides which nations we should hate and which nations we should love and if we make our own decisions against the Mullah regime’s will, we will be taken into account as a danger against the national security."