LGBT Activists Sentenced to Death by Iran for "Spreading Corruption"

Two LGBTQ rights activists were sentenced to death in Iran for allegedly promoting homosexuality. Activists Zahra Sedighi-Hamadani and Elham Chobdar were charged with “Corruption on Earth,” a vague yet lethal charge.

The Urmia Revolutionary Court handed the ruling in Urmia City, western Iran, close to its borders with Turkey.

Hamadani, also known as Sareh, was arrested in October last year after being detained by the Iraqi Kurdistan police during her attempt to cross the border to Turkey. At the time of her arrest, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency (TNA) reported that the IRGC was conducting arrests against human trafficking and homosexuals.

Earlier this year, Hamadani was also fined 5.3 million tomans, or close to $200 US dollars, for her attempt to leave the country.

Iran has intensified its propaganda, accusing Hamadani of running “one of the largest prostitution networks in Erbil.” TNA circulated a video showing footage of nightclubs as evidence of Hamadani and her alleged prostitution ring’s activity.

In January this year, Amnesty International called out Iran for its punitive treatment of the LGBTQ community. Amnesty International called out Iran’s arbitrary detentions based on Hamadani’s “real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.”

In its January letter addressed to Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, the chief justice of Iran, Amnesty International asked for the immediate and unconditional release of Hamadani. The letter also called for Iran to adopt legislations that will “protect LGBTI people from discrimination, violence and other human rights violations.”

On Tuesday, Amnesty International stated that it is outraged with Iran’s announcement of the death sentence, calling for Iran to “quash the convictions and death sentences” and release Hamadani and Chobar.

Another woman, the 52-year-old Soheila Ashrafi, is involved in the charges against Hamadani and Chobar. She is currently awaiting her sentence.

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