December 9, 2022

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Two lesbians and LGBTQ activists accused of promoting homosexuality, sentenced to death in Iran

Two lesbians and LGBTQ activists accused of promoting homosexuality have been sentenced to death in Iran, several organizations reported on Monday, urging the international community to prevent their execution.

Zahra Sedighi Hamedani, 31 years old, and Elham Chubdar, 24 years old, were sentenced by a court in the northwestern city of Urmia, the Kurdish human rights organization “Hengaw” reported on Monday, lefigaro reports. fr, quoted by News.ro.

According to the NGO, the two young women were also accused of promoting the Christian religion and of having communicated with a press organization opposed to the Iranian regime. The two activists are currently in the women’s section of the Urmia prison. Another woman, Soheila Ashrafi, 52 years old, from Urmia, targeted by the same accusations, was also arrested. She awaits her verdict.

In a statement published on its Mizan Online website on Monday, the Judicial Authority confirmed the death sentence of Zahra Sedighi Hamedani and Elham Chubdar, for “corruption“. This is the most serious charge in the Iranian criminal code.

Shadi Amin, coordinator of the Iranian organization for the defense of the rights of LGBTQ people “6 Rank“, based in Germany, confirmed for AFP the verdicts against the two young women. “Now we urge Germany and other foreign governments to apply pressure” on Iran to obtain the release of the activists, she told AFP. “It is the first time a woman has been sentenced to death in Iran because of her sexual orientationshe said.

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The fate of a prominent Iranian pro-LGBTQ activist, Sedighi Hamedani – known as Sareh – has also been a matter of great concern for several months. She was arrested in October 2021 by Iranian security forces while trying to flee to neighboring Turkey. Sedighi Hamedani was then locked up in isolation for almost two months.

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 custody of the two his children.

In January, Amnesty International reported that the charges against the activist were related to her social media support for LGBTQ people and her appearance in a BBC documentary broadcast in May 2021 about the persecution of LGBTQ people in Iraqi Kurdistan, where she was based.

Before leaving Iraqi Kurdistan, where she had been detained, Sedighi Hamedani sent videos to the NGO 6Rang, to be made public if she is unable to find a safe haven “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 my freedom”, she adds, also claiming that she was tortured in particular by electrocution while detained in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Human rights defenders accuse Iran of currently leading a wave of repression that affects all segments of society. These activists denounce in particular the 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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