Authorities in Iran Intentionally Deny Critical Medical Attention to Political Prisoners

September 7, 2022 – A political prisoner’s precarious health situation is raising fears of another preventable death in Iranian state custody due to the authorities’ denial of proper medical treatment, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in a statement today.

Read more

Death Sentence Intended to Dissuade Other Activists

September 6, 2022 – The international community should loudly and publicly condemn the blatantly unlawful death sentences issued without due process against two LGBTQ activists in West Azerbaijan Province, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today.

“These two young women were sentenced to death for being part of the LGBTQ community in Iran, which the government has been unsuccessfully trying to eliminate for decades,” said CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.

“This death sentence is intended to terrify and dissuade other LGBTQ activists,” he added.

“A homophobic court system could hang these two young women for daring to be themselves in the Islamic Republic of Iran—if the world chooses to be silent,” said Ghaemi.

CHRI urges the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Council, and special rapporteurs, as well as governments around the world, to publicly call for the annulment of the verdicts against Zahra Sedighi-Hamedani and Elham Choubdar, and their immediate release.

CHRI further calls on the authorities in Iran to cease persecuting individuals on the basis of their sexual preference or orientation and criminalizing the LGBTQ community in Iran.

Click Here for Our LGBTQ Rights in Iran Fact Sheet

Sentenced to Death for Being Non-Conforming, Denied Due Process

The Iranian judiciary confirmed on September 6, 2022, that Sedighi-Hamedani, known as “Sareh,” 31, and Choubdar, 24, were sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court in the city of Orumiyeh on the charge of “Corruption on Earth.”

Another woman, Soheila Ashrafi, 52, was involved in the joint case, but her verdict has not been issued yet, according to news reports.

CHRI has confirmed from a well-informed source who requested anonymity that the sentences were issued after multiple violations of the women’s due process rights, including:

  •     Denial of access to legal counsel
  •     Forced false “confessions” extracted under torture and interrogations by state security forces in violation of Article 38 of the Constitution, which prohibits “all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information”
  •     Both were illegally held in solitary confinement for 2 months during their detainment

Both women were engaged in peaceful activism for LGBTQ rights in Iran prior to their prosecution.

Sedighi-Hamedani was arrested by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) intelligence organization in October 2021 on the Turkish border, where she was trying to seek asylum.

In July of this year, the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency published a report and a video of the arrest of Zahra Sedighi-Hamadani and other individuals, claiming without any presentation of evidence that they were arrested for activities related to “promoting homosexuality, gambling, fraud” as well as “destigmatizing illicit sexual relations and publishing them online.”

“I find the sentence shocking,” said Iranian human rights lawyer Saeid Dehghan in an interview with BBC Persian. “So far I have not seen the death sentence being carried out against LGBTQ activists, but there may have been some that I don’t know about. The fact is that as long as the Islamic Penal Code prescribes the death sentence or flogging for private sexual relations, these punishments cannot be ruled out. There have been cases of men being executed for lavat (anal intercourse), but not LGBTQ activities.”

Dehghan continued, “The crime of ‘promoting homosexuality’ is not mentioned in Iranian laws… At most, the only law the authorities can base their accusations on is Article 639 of the Islamic Penal Code, which calls for a maximum punishment of 10 years for engaging in LGBTQ activities, not execution.”

Meanwhile, the charge of “corruption on earth” is used in the Islamic Republic’s judicial system as a vague catch-all charge to prosecute individuals for perceived political and cultural transgressions.

On September 6, 2022, the Iranian judiciary’s media agency, in publicizing the sentence, added that Sedighi was part of a “gang” that was “trafficking” women, however, the unsubstantiated claim was not listed in the case file used by the Revolutionary Court in Orumiyeh.

Same-sex relations are criminalized in the Islamic Republic of Iran, so LGBTQ individuals cannot go to the police or courts without risking prosecution themselves. Yet they are subjected to extreme rights violations and deadly violence perpetrated by both the state and society.

Iran is one of only six countries that impose the death penalty for same-sex relations. Abuses faced by the LGBTQ community in the Islamic Republic include:

  •     The death penalty can and has been applied to juvenile LGBTQ individuals
  •     Flogging and imprisonment are also imposed for many same-sex acts and cross-dressing
  •     Activists are convicted of national security crimes for peaceful LGBTQ advocacy
  •     Honor killings by LGBTQ family members are encouraged by lenient laws

“Unless the international community begins to communicate to the authorities in Iran that there will be meaningful political and diplomatic consequences for these outrageous violations of basic human rights, such abuses will only increase,” said Ghaemi.

Government of Iran Has Long Targeted its Critics Abroad for Assassination

August 15, 2022 – The heinous attack in New York on the author Salman Rushdie, in which a knifeman inflicted life-threatening injuries, stems from the Islamic Republic’s longstanding policy of stifling freedom of expression both inside and outside its borders, as well as its refusal to rescind a deadly religious decree against Rushdie, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Read more

Iranian citizen sentenced to life in prison for executions of political prisoners in Iran in 1988

2022-07-14- Stockholms tingsrätt – Stockholm District Court has today sentenced a 61-year-old Iranian citizen for participating in the executions of many political prisoners in Iran in the summer of 1988. The accused has in the role of assistant to the deputy prosecutor at the Gohardasht prison in Karaj, Tehran jointly and in collusion with others been involved in the executions, which took place after a fatwa from Iran’s Supreme Leader. The first wave of executions was directed at sympathizers of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran. The acts have been deemed as a serious crime against international law. The second wave of executions was directed at left-wing sympathizers who were deemed to have renounced their Islamic faith. These acts have been deemed as murder. The sentence is life imprisonment.

Read more

At Least 13 Arrested After “Supreme Leader” Threatens Repeat of 1980s Violent Repression

July 11, 2022 – Less than a month after the intelligence chief of the Iranian military’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was replaced, a crackdown on dissent is being ramped up in the country.

Read more

Treaty Encourages Hostage-Taking, Would Return Convicted Terrorist to Iran

July 5, 2022 – More than 400 leading Iranian human rights activists, dissidents and family members of victims of Iranian state repression and violence have called on the Belgian parliament not to ratify a proposed prisoner swap treaty with Iran.

Read more

Iranian Court Refers to France as an “Enemy Government”

June 28, 2022 – Countries negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, including France, the U.K., and the U.S., as well as European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, should condemn the Iranian judiciary’s blatantly unlawful prison sentence against French tourist Benjamin Brière, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Read more

Same Efforts Applied to Nuclear Deal Can and Should Be Given to Human Rights

President Biden Has Also Remained Silent on State’s Violent Crackdown in Iran

June 27, 2022 – European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who has traveled travel to Tehran and issued multiple public statements in an effort to restore the nuclear deal with Iran, should devote the same level of energy to address the intensifying human rights crisis in the country, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today. Read more

Supreme Leader’s COVID Vaccine Ban Resulted in Thousands of Unnecessary Deaths

June 22, 2022 – For trying to sue Iranian leaders for their grossly negligent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, three lawyers and two civil rights activists have been sentenced to prison.

Read more

Repression of Civil Society Harms U.S. Security Interests

June 14, 2022— President Biden’s silence so far on the killings and mass arrests of protesters in Iran by state security forces over the last month—the latest in a long line of lethal state responses to dissent in Iran—reflects the U.S. government’s low prioritization of human rights in the country, and the continuation of a policy that is harming U.S. national security interests, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) today as it released a new briefing.

Read more