The Iranian judicial authorities confirmed on Monday the sentence to death by hanging of two people for trafficking in women. However, according to denounces the NGO Hengawthe convicted, Zahra Sediqi Hamedani, 31, and Elham Chubdar, 24, are LGBTI activists and have been convicted for it.
“Contrary to the published news, these people were accused of trafficking women to a country in the region with the promise of work and education,” reported the Mizan news agency, of the Judiciary, in response to Hengaw’s complaint. , which focuses on the Iranian Kurdistan region. According to information from Mizan, the activists have been sentenced for “corruption on the ground”.
The NGO, however, assures that both were accused of “promoting homosexuality”, “promoting Christianity” and “dealing with the media that oppose the Islamic Republic”.
Hamedani was arrested at the end of 2021 for her sexual orientation and for her social media posts in defense of LGTBI rights, according to Amnesty International. “During her detention, she denounced that intelligence agents and security agencies tortured her, with beatings, electric shocks and prolonged periods of isolation,” said Amnesty, which also denounced that the detention was based on her “gender identity” and in “posts on social networks and statements in defense of LGTBI rights”.
According to IranWire media, Hamedani was arrested on October 27, 2021 while trying to cross the border into Turkey. Already then, an Iranian news agency associated with the security forces reported that she had made several arrests related to “trafficking in women and supporting homosexuals.”
The woman lived in Iraqi Kurdistan, where she was detained for 21 days after giving an interview to the BBC about the situation of the LGTBI community. After her release, she returned to Iran to cross into Turkey, reports IranWire.
“I was detained in Iraq for 21 days for my interview with the BBC. They tortured me and put me in isolation. I will cross the border. If I make it to the other side, I’ll be fine. If not, it will be obvious what has happened to me.” he stated in a video before embarking on the trip. “I send this video so that you understand all the pressure we endure. Will I ever be myself? I hope that one day we will all live freely.”
Iran’s Islamic Penal Code criminalizes same-sex relationships and provides for whipping and the death penalty as punishments for it. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei described homosexuality in March as a “moral turpitude” widespread in the West.