Two women sentenced to death for 'corruption on earth'

Aisha Nozari

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Two women sentenced to death for 'corruption on earth'

Featured Image Credit: J Marshall - Tribaleye Images / ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy

Two women have been sentenced to death on ‘corruption on earth’ charges in Iran. 

Iran's official IRNA news agency also reported that the women have been charged with human trafficking.

In recent days, campaigners have been taking to social media to share pictures of the women - who are thought to be LGBT rights activists - insisting they are innocent. 

Reporting on the news, Reuters said it has not been able to verify the photos. 

Two women have been sentenced to death on ‘corruption on earth’ charges in Iran. Credit: Arthur Greenberg / Alamy Stock Photo
Two women have been sentenced to death on ‘corruption on earth’ charges in Iran. Credit: Arthur Greenberg / Alamy Stock Photo

IRNA said: “Contrary to news published online, the sentenced have deceived and trafficked young women and girls out of the country by promising them educational and work opportunities, thus leading to the suicide of several of their victims.”

Iranian authorities use the term ‘corruption on earth’ to refer to a broad range of offences deemed undesirable by the state.

Iran has often faced criticism for its treatment of LGBTQ+ issues, and under the country’s legal system, homosexuality is punishable by death. 

According to the BBC, a court in Urmia found Zahra Seddiqi Hamedani, 31, and Elham Choubdar, 24, guilty of ‘spreading corruption on earth’.

Quoting the Hengaw Organisation for Human Rights, the broadcaster said the women have been accused by prosecutors of ‘promoting homosexuality, promoting Christianity and communicating with media opposed to the Islamic Republic’.

Hamedani and Choubdar were told of the verdicts at Urmia Central Prison, despite there being no immediate confirmation from the judiciary, however, Iranians quickly took to social media to decry Hamedani and Choubdar’s fate and demand their death sentences be revoked. 

Iran has often faced criticism for its treatment of LGBT issues. Credit: Borka Kiss / Alamy Stock Photo
Iran has often faced criticism for its treatment of LGBT issues. Credit: Borka Kiss / Alamy Stock Photo

The Hengaw Organisation for Human Rights noted that Hamedani, also known as Sareh, hails from Naqadeh in West Azerbaijan province, a predominantly Kurdish town.

According to Amnesty International, Sareh is a human rights defender who has been ‘detained solely in connection with her real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity as well as her social media posts and statements in defence of [LGBTQ+] rights’.

Sareh is thought to have been arrested by the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) in October 2021 while attempting to seek asylum by crossing over into Turkey.

Amnesty also reports that Sareh was detained for 53 day and allegedly ‘subjected to intense interrogations accompanied by verbal abuse’ at the hands of an IRGC agent, who also allegedly ‘threatened to execute or otherwise harm her and take away the custody of her two young children’.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected] 

Topics: News, World News, Politics, LGBTQ

Aisha Nozari
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