Two LGBT+ rights activists sentenced to death in Iran for ‘promoting homosexuality’

Zahra Sedighi-Hamedani
31-year-old Zahra Sedighi-Hamedani was arrested in October 2021

Two LGBTQ+ rights activists have been sentenced to death in Iran.

The state’s Sharia law system imposes the death penalty on same-sex relations.


The Islamic Republic of Iran has imposed the death penalty on two alleged LGBTQ activists for ‘promoting homosexuality’, human rights organization Hengaw reported on Sunday (September 4), per Jerusalem Post.


According to Hengaw, “Zahra Sediqi Hamedani, known as ‘Sareh,’ 31, from Naqadeh, and Elham Chubdar, 24, from Urmia” were both “sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court of Urmia in a joint case on the charge of ‘Corruption on Earth’ through the promotion of homosexuality.”


They are currently both being held in Urmia Central Prison, in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran.


Hengaw noted in its report that Zahra Sediqi Hamadani, 31, was deprived of access to a lawyer during her detention and threatened with execution and deprivation of custody of her two children, along with other verbal harassments and insults about her identity and appearance.



In addition to “promoting homosexuality,” reports say the two women were convicted of “promoting Christianity” and “communicating with the media opposing the Islamic Republic.”


Zahra Sediqi Hamdani was arrested on October 27, 2021, while seeking to cross the border into Turkey. She was then transferred to the women’s ward of the central prison after about two months of detention in the solitary confinement of a intelligence detention center in Urmia.


According to a 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.”


LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell spoke with Jerusalem Post and shared an update on Instagram, saying:


“They will probably be hanged by the barbaric long, slow strangulation method, favoured by the Tehran regime to maximise the victim’s suffering.”

Adding that “Iran is notorious for unfair trials and this is very likely the case with these two women.”

“These cases further highlight the Tehran dictatorship’s on-going murderous war against LGBT+ people, in violation of the principles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”


Iran flag
Iranian flags at the Nishapur Railway Station


Professor Jessica Emami, an Iran expert and researcher at 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.”


Jerusalem Post reports Iran’s regime has executed between 4,000 and 6,000 gay and lesbian people since the nation’s Islamic revolution in 1979.


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