Iran has sentenced two LGBTQ+ activists to death.
Elham Chubdar, 24, and Zahra Sediqi Hamedani, 31, were both sentenced in a joint case by the Revolutionary Court of Urmia, Hengaw Organization for Human Rights reports. The two women had been charged with “spreading corruption on earth” through “promoting homosexuality,” “promoting Christianity,” and “communicating with the media opposing the Islamic Republic.”
The women were notified of their sentence while detained in the women’s ward of Urmia Central Prison according to the human rights organization. Hengaw also reports that Sediqi Hamedani had been denied access to a lawyer and had been harassed and threatened with execution following her arrest in October 2021.
Iran’s judiciary has confirmed the sentence, the BBC reports, although it alleges that the women were “accused of deceiving women and young girls and trafficking them to one of the countries of the region.”
Sediqi Hamedani was detained in October after she attempted to flee Iran through Turkey in order to seek asylum. She was then disappeared into solitary confinement for 53 days, Amnesty International reports, where she was subject to interrogations, threats, and abuse amounting to torture.
Her detention is “solely in connection with her real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity as well as her social media posts and statements in defense of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex … people,” according to Amnesty International.
Few details about Chubdar have been made public, other than the fact of her sentence and that she is from Urmia.
Homosexuality remains illegal in Iran, and those charged could face the death penalty. However, this is the first known case where women have been sentenced to death for their sexuality orientation, according to the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network, as reported by the BBC.