The Islamic Republic of Iran has sentenced two LGBTQ activists to death for “corruption on Earth” through allegedly “promoting homosexuality”.
Hengaw Organization for Human Rights reported on 4th August that the Revolutionary Court of Urmia, West Azerbaijan province, had handed death sentences to Zahra Sedighi-Hamedani, 31, and Elham Choubdar, 24, some days earlier.
The two are currently being held in the women’s ward of Urmia Central Prison, reported the human rights organisation.
At the time of reporting, the court had not yet reached a verdict against co-defendant Soheila Ashrafi, 52.
Zahra, from Naqadeh, was reportedly first arrested while trying to cross into Turkey to claim asylum in October last year.
She was allegedly held in solitary confinement for 53 days.
During this period, she was allegedly insulted for her identity and appearance, threatened with death, and told her children would be taken away from her by security agents from the Revolutionary Guard.
The activists were charged with “spreading corruption on earth” by “promoting homosexuality”, “communication with anti-Islamic Republic media channels” and “promoting Christianity” by prosecutors in Urmia in January.
Hengaw said: “While expressing deep concern about the death sentence for the two people, Hengaw Human Rights Organization confirms that Urmia’s Prosecutor’s Office and Revolutionary Court are among the most notorious courts regarding political, ideological, and LGBT defendants [sic.], which generally do not meet the standards of a fair trial and do not respect the rights of the defendants.
“Hengaw calls for the special attention of human rights organizations to the situation of the two people.”
Iran is widely considered to have one of the worst records on LGBTQ rights of any country in the world.
In Iran, same-sex sexual activities are punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, fines, or execution.
The country is believed to also have the world’s highest per-capita execution rate.