Two Iranian Women Sentenced To Death For LGBT Activism


Two Iranian women have been sentenced to death for their activism in support of the country's LGBT community.

The state IRNA news agency reported the sentences of Zahra Hamadani and Elham Chubdar on September 5, a day after the Hengaw human rights network said it had received reports that the two were informed of the punishment a few days earlier.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had accused the two of "promoting homosexuality, gambling, fraud, and promoting illicit sexual relations and publishing them on the Internet."

Hengaw said the Revolutionary Court of Urmia ruled in a joint case that the two were guilty of charges of "corruption on Earth," "promoting Christianity," and "communicating with the media opposing the Islamic Republic."

Speaking on the corruption on Earth charge, British LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell told the Jerusalem Post on September 4 that "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."

Neither Hamadani, 31, nor her supporters have commented on the allegations, but she has previously been targeted by authorities for her activities related to LGBT rights.

She was arbitrarily detained in October 2021 for her social media posts defending LGBT rights. A month later, she was arrested while trying to leave the country and has reportedly not had access to her lawyer since.

Gays and lesbians are forced to hide their sexual orientation in Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death.

According to a 2020 poll published by the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network 6rang, 62 percent of LGBT respondents said they had experienced one or more forms of violence by their immediate family. Some 77 percent said they had been subjected to physical violence of some sort due to their sexual orientation.