The 6G Iranian and Lesbian and Transgender Network reported Tuesday on its website that an Iranian lesbian named Sarah was arrested in the province of West Azerbaijan while seeking to cross the border into Turkey.
The Islamic Republic’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested Sarah in November and, according to the pro-Iran Tasnim news agency, individuals were detained on charges of "forming a gang for trafficking girls and supporting homosexuality." The Iranian theocratic state‘s Sharia law system imposes the death penalty on same-sex relations.
According to an IRGC statement, one of the charges against the vague "trafficking network" was "communicating and supporting homosexual groups" who "operated under the auspices of the trans-regional intelligence services.“
The Islamic Republic’s security forces frequently charge dissidents, protestors against the regime and minorities with nebulous allegations of violating national security.
The Persian word for 6G is Shesh rang and embodies the six colors of the LGBTQ+ flag.
According to 6G, Sarah is 28 years old and lived and worked in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraqi Kurdistan police arrested her after she gave an interview to BBC Persian about the jihadists in Iraq. She was incarcerated for 21 days in Iraq.
6G said Sarah attempted to flee to Turkey to save herself and agreed to release a video in the event of her imprisonment. 6G posted a video on its website of Sarah.
Sarah said on the video that "Today I arrived in Iran, the regime found out that I'm here via my friends. Any time I can be arrested. My life is in danger. I try to get out of Iran, I don't know if I can make it or not."
Peter Tatchell, the British human rights campaigner and LGBTQ+ activist told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, that "Sarah's arrest is evidence of no let-up in the Islamic regime's persecution of alleged LGBT+ people. Mostly gay men are targeted for state repression but this arrest shows that women accused of lesbianism are also at risk. It looks like the Revolutionary Guards want to make an example of Sarah to show they are tough on alleged homosexuality and to strike fear into the hearts of Iran's LGBT+ community. "He added that "The idea of a 'trafficking network' operating under the 'auspices of the trans-regional intelligence services' sounds fanciful. It is most likely an attempt to fuel nonsense propaganda and conspiracy theories that Iranian LGBTs are being manipulated and aided by the security services of Israel and the West."
Prof. Jessica Emami, an Iran expert and research fellow for The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy], said "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, told the Post on Sunday that “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."
She added that “The whole nation must be adapted to the Ayatollahs’ dangerous ideology and inhuman law. The regime calls us sinners if we don’t do exactly what the regime dictates us and accused us of being against the Sharia law, while the regime’s officials and their children have been committing the most brutal crime against the Iranians. We are being held hostage, you almost hear this sentence from each Iranian, of course except the 4% regime’s supporters. Not only us Iranians are suffering under the Islamic Republic’s brutal rules and dangerous ideology to capture the whole world to make it ready for the 12th Imam, but also the whole region is suffering, countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen."
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.