UN experts demand stay of execution for two LGBTQIA+ rights activists


1500tasvir hengaw lgbt activists
Zahra Sedighi-Hamadani Image: 1500tasvir Twitter

UN experts have demanded a stay of execution for two Iranian LGBTQIA+ rights activists. 

In September, Zahra Sedighi-Hamadani, 31, and Elham Choubdar, 24, both LGBTQIA+ activists, were sentenced to death.

In January, the Urmia Public Prosecutor’s Office accused them of “promoting homosexuality”, “promoting Christianity”, and “communicating with the media opposing the Islamic Republic”.

Alongside being convicted for “corruption on earth” the pair were also convicted on charges of “trafficking” as they had helped at-risk individuals escape the country.

Iran’s legal system explicitly prohibits homosexuality and same-sex relations are punishable by death under the country’s penal code.

UN experts call on Iran to repeal the death penalty

Sedighi-Hamadani was arrested on 27 October 2021 by Islamic Revolutionary Guards near the Iranian border.

Choubdar’s date of arrest is unknown.

For 53 days after her arrest, Sedighi-Hamadani was “forcibly disappeared” and subjected to abuse in a detention centre.

“We urge Iran’s authorities to investigate the alleged ill-treatment of Ms. Sedighi-Hamadani while in detention,” the UN experts say.

“And the failure of judicial authorities to ensure due process in both women’s cases, which may also have violated their right to a fair trial among other human rights.”

The UN has called on Iran to repeal the death penalty.

“Authorities have an international obligation to ensure that all human rights defenders in Iran can conduct peaceful and legitimate activities without fear of persecution or reprisals, including those working on sensitive issues such as sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The UN experts are closely monitoring the situation and remain in contact with Iranian authorities.

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Sarah Davison
Sarah Davison

After working in print and radio, Sarah has joined the team at QNews to expand their coverage into South Australia. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Masters in Journalism, Media, and Communications. Get in touch: sarah@qnews.com.au

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