59 Human Rights Organizations Call for Abolition of Death Penalty for All Offences

On October 10, the 20th anniversary of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, Human Rights Activists in Iran and 58 other human rights organizations issued a joint statement to draw attention to gender bias and discrimination against women and LGBTQIA+, which can negatively impact the judicial process. They also called for the abolition of the death penalty for all offenses.

The following is the full text of this statement:

20TH WORLD DAY AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

On this 20th anniversary of the World Day Against the Death Penalty dedicated to the link between torture and the use of the death penalty and in continuation of the 2021 World Day Against the Death Penalty dedicated to women facing capital punishment, sentenced to death, executed, pardoned or charged with a capital crime and found not guilty, the members of the World Coalition and allies of women and LGBTQIA+ individuals sentenced to death take this opportunity to:

  • Draw attention to gender bias in the use of torture in the judicial process leading to the imposition of the death penalty. Women and LGBTQIA+ individuals are particularly at risk to abuse, including physical, sexual, and psychological torture. In addition, women victims of gender-based violence, who are over-represented on death row, are at risk of making false confessions when subjected to coercive investigative methods, especially those carried out by men.
  • Emphasize that violence against women and LGBTQIA+ individuals in detention – including gender and sexual abuse and harassment, inappropriate touching during searches, rape, and sexual coercion – can rise to the level of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT), among others.
  • Accentuate that women and LGBTQIA+ individuals have specific needs, including sexual and reproductive health care, medical and mental health care, harm reduction services for those using drugs, and protection from gender-based violence, among others. These needs are not systematically considered and covered in prisons, which can turn detention into torture.
  • Stress that in many countries, particularly those with the mandatory death penalty, women and LGBTQIA+ individuals may be sentenced to death without considering their experiences of gender-based violence, among their other vulnerability aspects, prior to incarceration.

More broadly, the members of the World Coalition and allies of women and LGBTQIA+ individuals sentenced to death and at risk of being sentenced to death wish to use this 20th anniversary to:

  • Emphasize that, as done by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in its 2022 report, the death penalty as currently practiced can be considered as torture.
  • Call attention to the intersectional discrimination and inequalities that women and LGBTQIA+ individuals face, as these can negatively impact the judicial process leading to the death penalty. Pervasive gender biases in criminal legal systems influence: the investigation, through gender bias by law enforcement; the trial, where marginalized women and LGBTQIA+ individuals tend to be denied fair trial; and at the sentencing stage, where mitigating circumstances that might benefit women and LGBTQIA+ individuals sentenced to death are not considered.
  • Recall that, in violation of international human right law and standards, 12 countries continue to criminalize consensual same-sex relations, imposing the death penalty upon conviction.
  • Address the recognition of the intersectional dimension of discrimination. An analysis of the profiles of women sentenced to death reveals that most are from ethnic and racial minorities, are non-literate, and live with intellectual or psychological disabilities, often as a result of the gender-based violence they have suffered. Gender-based discrimination does not operate in isolation but is compounded by other forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, sex characteristics, economic status, and disability, among others.
  • Make visible the lack of accurate and up-to-date data on the number and status of women and LGBTQIA+ individuals sentenced to death, executed, or whose death sentences have been commuted or pardoned.

We recommend that governments in countries that still retain the death penalty:

  1. Abolish the death penalty for all offences, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics;
  2. Establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, as called for by the UN General Assembly in its resolutions calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty;
  3. Pending full abolition, we call on governments to:
    1. Eliminate the death penalty for offences that do not meet the threshold of  “most serious crimes” under international law and standards including same-sex relationships and drug offences;
    2. Repeal provisions that allow for the mandatory imposition of the death penalty, which does not allow judges to consider the circumstances of the offence for the defendant at sentencing;
    3. Commute the sentences of women sentenced to death for killing close family members who perpetrated gender-based violence against them and for women sentenced to death for drug trafficking and other offenses that do not involve the loss of human life;
    4. Acknowledge the compounding forms of violence and discrimination experienced by girls, women and LGBTQIA+ individuals – including gender-based violence, early and forced marriage;
    5. Review laws, criminal procedures, and judicial practices and implement policies and legislative reforms to protect women and LGBTQIA+ individuals from violence and discrimination;
    6. Ensure that the criminal legal system takes full account of any mitigating factors linked to women’s and LGBTQIA+ individuals’ backgrounds, including evidence of prior abuse as well as psycho-social and intellectual disabilities;
    7. Ensure publicly available disaggregated data on people sentenced to death, their profile, age, gender, the courts that have pronounced the judgements charges and places of detention;
    8. Prevent the disproportionate detention and prosecution of women for “moral and sexual” crimes and of people for their sexual orientation and decriminalize such offenses;
    9. Promote the training of all those involved in the investigation, legal defense, prosecution, trial, adjudication and conviction of crimes involving women on gender-based discrimination and violence, pathways to crime, and gender-sensitive mitigations;
    10. Ensure that all those facing the death penalty have access to free and effective legal representation by counsel with experience representing individuals charged with capital offences and who are trained to recognize and bring forward mitigating factors, including those linked to gender-based discrimination and violence;
    11. Develop and implement programs to prevent gender-based violence and discrimination, and to promote the human rights of women, girls and LGBTQIA individuals+;
    12. Guarantee access to consular assistance for foreign women charged with death-eligible offenses, as required by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations;
    13. In accordance with the Bangkok Rules and the Mandela Rules, adopt gender-sensitive policies regarding the detention of women, ensuring their safety and security before trial, during admission to prison, and while incarcerated.

Signatory organizations:


  1. ACAT Germany
  2. AdvocAid
  3. The Advocates for Human Rights
  4. American Constitution Society
  5. Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)
  6. Association pour les Droits Humains au Kurdistan d’Iran-Genève (KMMK-G)
  7. Avocats sans frontières France
  8. Capital Punishment Justice Project
  9. Center for Constitutional Rights
  10. Coalition Tunisienne Contre la Peine de mort
  11. Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas de Puerto Rico
  12. Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide
  13. The Death Penalty Project
  14. Droit et Paix
  15. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort
  16. Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany
  17. Fédération internationale pour les droits humains (FIDH)
  18. Fédération internationale des ACAT (FIACAT)
  19. Forum Marocain pour la Vérité et la Justice
  20. Gender Violence Clinic – University of Maryland Carey School of Law
  21. German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalt
  22. Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
  23. Greater Caribbean for Life
  24. Harm Reduction International
  25. Human Rights Activists in Iran
  26. Human Rights and Legal Profession Project Assistant
  27. International Commission of Jurist
  28. Institute for Criminal Justice Reform
  29. Institute for the Rule of Law of the International Association of Lawyers
  30. IraQueer
  31. Italian Federation for Human Rights
  32. Japan Innocence and Death Penalty Information Center
  33. Kenya Human Rights Commission
  34. Lawyers Collective India
  35. Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Masyarakat
  36. Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH)
  37. Madrid Bar Association
  38. MASUM & PACTI
  39. Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples (MRAP)
  40. Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA)
  41. Pax Christi Uvira
  42. Penal Reform International
  43. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  44. Red para la Abolición de la Pena de Muerte y las Penas Crueles
  45. Resilient Women’s Organization
  46. Planète Réfugiés-Droits de l’Homme
  47. The Rights Practice
  48. Sandigan Kuwait
  49. The Sentencing Project
  50. Society for Human Rights and Development Organisation (SHRDO)
  51. Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP)
  52. Terre des Femmes e.V.
  53. The Texas After Violence Project
  54. Union Chrétienne pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits de l’Homme
  55. The William Gomes Podcast
  56. Witness to Innocence
  57. Women Beyond Walls
  58. The Women and Harm Reduction International
  59. World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

 

Urmia Revolutionary Court has sentenced Zahra Sedighi Hamedani and Elham Choobdar to death

The Revolutionary Court of Urmia sentenced Zahra Sedighi Hamedani and Elham Choobdar to death. The Media Center for Iran’s Judiciary cited the reason as “spreading corruption on earth through trafficking women to the Kurdistan region of Iraq.” However, many have expressed concern that the two were #LGBTQ+ advocates and the sentencing may be related to their sexual orientation.

According to HRANA, the Human Rights Activists news agency, the Revolutionary Court of Urmia has issued a death sentence for Zahra Sedighi Hamedani and Elham Choobdar.

The Media Center for Iran’s Judiciary announced that these individuals have “deceived and trafficked women to one of the countries in the region by promising them education and jobs, and in some cases, young women have committed suicide.”

Sedighi was in Iraq’s Kurdistan region but was arrested on her way to Turkey when part of her trip led her to cross Iran’s territory.

On November 6, 2021, the IRGC announced the arrest of (Zahra Sedighi Hamedani) as ahead of a network that was trafficking women to a country to spread prostitution with the support of Homosexual groups and foreign intelligence services.” some LGBTQ+ activists denied such accusations and attributed the arrest to the individual’s sexual orientation and advocacy work.

IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News has also brought such accusations against Zahra Sedighi Hamedani, including gambling, fraud, promotion of homosexuality, illegitimate sexual relationships, and publishing on social media. Tasnim also revealed the identity of two other defendants, Alireza Farjadi-Kia and a woman identified with the first name Kati.

In February of 2022, Amnesty International recognized Sedighi as an LGBTQ+ rights activist and warned about her execution for promoting homosexuality and Christianity.

However, until now, no part of the case documents, including the pleadings or the workflow of the case, or any comments from any of the above sources, including the lawyers of the case, have been published.

Police Refuse to Record Transgender Individual’s Complaint

Tehran police refused to record the complaint of a transgender who was assaulted and beaten by two individuals.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting BBC Persian, a transgender Individual who was assaulted by two was denied justice by the police.

A video published by BBC Persian showed a transgender being assaulted and scolded by a woman at a shopping mall in Tehran. Then, a man assaulted her and crashed her phone.

Despite abundant pieces of evidence, the police refused to file her complaint.

In Iran, transgender individuals are subject to daily discrimination, harassment and violations. Transgender identity is only recognized through state-supported sex reassignment surgery. In some cases, homosexual individuals are pressured to go through sex reassignment surgery to avoid legal and social pressure.

State-Sponsored Discrimination against Iranian LGBTQI+ Communities Ramps up amidst a Growing and More Vocal Activist Community

The Islamic Republic has long criminalized homosexuality in its domestic legal systems while also actively fueling propaganda campaigns in both media and educational institutions including through discriminatory public media content, textbooks, and campaigns aimed at so-called “Conversion Therapy”

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, as the number of LGBTQI+ activists in the country continue to grow, Iranian politicians, cultural public figures and celebrities have made public statements aimed at inciting public discrimination, hostility, and violence against the LGBTQI+ community inside of Iran.

Officials representing the government have gone on record with their discriminatory positions. The Iranian Government Spokesperson Ali Rabiei announced the allocation of loans for the “treatment of transgender people.” Abbas Masjedi Arani, the head of the Iranian Forensic Medicine Organization, while giving an interview regarding sex reassignment surgeries in 2019 (gender affirmation surgery), described transgender identity as a disorder.” On a prior occasion, the head of the Forensic Medicine Organization expressed concerns about increasing requests for gender affirmation surgeries, for which he blamed the Internet and social media, “It rings the alarm bell for both legal decision-makers in the parliament and society at large. Our initial research points to the unrestricted and inappropriate use of the internet as the major cause of the issue. In an interview with a foreign news agency, Minoo Mohraz, the head of the Iranian Research Center for HIV/AIDS (IRCHA) said, “for the sake of public health protection, sex workers, addicted people, and homosexuals have to be identified and treated.” Mohraz added, “[…] we have to treat them before they pollute the rest of society.”

‘Halalzadeha’

An apparent grassroots group known as ‘Halalzadeha’ has been circulating content on social media inciting discriminatory language against sexual and gender minorities. The group is also known to hold gatherings in Tehran aimed at condemning same-sex marriage in other countries. During the last 22 Bahman March (Anniversary of the 1979 Revolution), they stepped and marched on rainbow flags incitement hostility against members of the LGBTQI+ community. The lack of attempt by police or security forces to interfere in the gatherings, which is a routine activity in the case of similar gatherings, indicates that such groups are potentially supported by the regime.

“Conversion Therapy” and Unethical Medical Advice 

At odds with the body of knowledge in their respective field, several psychiatrists and psychologists employ unscientific treatment methods to change the gender identity of transgender people. Under pressure from their family, many transgender youths give in to unscientific treatment methods. Nonetheless, the Medical Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran has remained in a conspiracy of silence toward these unsubstantiated methods. The silent complicity in such methods is in stark contrast to the regime’s obligations under international law.

Social media has become a major channel of promotion for such treatments. In an article entitled, “Eight Guiding Methods to Cure Homosexuality”, which was widely disseminated online, a purported specialist in psychology and hypnosis, Davood Najafi Tavana, claimed that his methods could “change an LGBT person into a straight person.”

Tavana claimed that: “to cure homosexuality, one must see a psychiatrist as soon as possible to ensure the normal functioning of the endocrine glands.” He continued, “One can do this by running some tests. In this phase of treatment, with the help of medicine, your homosexuality will be cured.” He also stated that one must also, “Purify your mind also by appealing to God and holy Imams. In this way, you can overcome your diabolic thoughts and temptations.”

Mehr News Agency, which is affiliated with Islamic Development Organization, published an article criticizing a psychiatrist who had described homosexuality as a natural disposition. The report claimed “so far, no accredited laboratory has proven that homosexuality is a natural disposition. They asked, “How can a psychiatrist who is supposed to comply with scientific principles, expose his patients to damages of homosexual intercourse by saying that this is natural?” The report repeated Tavana’s claim that homosexuality can be cured with drugs, “In Iran, many physicians have the successful treatment of homosexual patients in their career. Therefore, the wrong assertion that homosexuality is incurable has to be debunked as a trick of political advocates of homosexuality.”

Anti-LGBT Statements in State Media

Director and screenwriter, Behrouz Afkhami has made several homophobic statements during a TV talk show. Answering an interview question about the conditions for awarding at Cannes Film Festival he asserted, “If a film about an LGBT person participates in this festival, they spare special points for such film to take precedence over others in the competition.”  In response, the program host agreed and went on to identify homosexuality as a “sexual perversion.”

Director and screenwriter, Ghotbeddin Sadeghi, in a speech defended the security fencing of Tehran City Theater premises and claimed, ” Theatre premises have been occupied by thugs, criminals and queer people who do not observe the cultural sanctity of this place.” In response to his homophobic statements, a group of artists and civil activists in the field of sexual and gender minorities published an open statement and condemned these statements as hate speech.

In the statement, activists stated:

“Closing their eyes to the root cause of social issues, they [government] introduce the gender minorities as the main cause or at least one of the major causes of social insecurity. They place blame on the queer community whose social presence and even gender expression are restricted and condemned due to the criminalization of their existence. They bring down the hammer on this part of the society because their quest for LGBTQI+’s exclusion is the most self-assured policy in such discriminative and injustice sphere.”

Incorporating Gender Stereotypes in Educational Materials

The regime continues incorporating gender stereotypes in educational materials particularly at lower-secondary level (middle school). Such stereotypes indirectly intensify violence against LGBTQI+ people. By enclosing the gender spectrum into a gender binary, these textbooks adversely impact a children’s perception of gender minorities and as such incite discrimination and hostility towards those minorities within their own society.

A textbook titled ‘Family Management and Lifestyles’, which is taught exclusively to girls in the 12th grade, the text advised girls, “If a man, from the outset of the marriage life, expects his wife to contribute to breadwinning, you better reconsider marrying this man, because, in such marriage life, you have to take over both men’s and women’s roles.” The underlying patriarchal structure of traditional culture as well as Iran’s domestic legal system puts all efforts to reinforce such strict gender roles and eliminate all gender-equal living patterns. For this purpose, the official education system plays a key role in the reproduction of gender discrimination and the upbringing of children in accordance with Islamic views on gender rather than gender equality.

Censorship

The regime vigorously censors any content about LGBTQI+ rights to cut the access of families of an LGBTQ member to these contents. None of the educational platforms, dating websites or computer games are immune to this type of censorship.

Recently, a Mobile game app called ‘Apex Legends’ was removed from the app store Kafe-Bazar by the order of the regime’s monitoring working group. Soon after, this application was taken down from the Myket App store as well. Activists believe that gay and lesbian characters in this game were the reason for this censorship.

Iranian LGBTQIA Activists Asked for Ending Discrimination against Gender Minorities in Medical Centers

In an open letter addressing the medical community of Iran, a number of LGBTQIA activists asked for ending discrimination against gender minorities for having access to medical care.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of Iran’s independent LGBTQIA activists protested against discrimination and lack of access to medical care for gender minorities.  

In this letter, they asserted that everyone should be entitled to access to medical records regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Nonetheless, for LGBTIA+ community, the experience is not favorable. In the letter, twelve examples of harassment and discrimination including harassment of male homosexuals in forensic centers were counted. The stigmatization of female homosexuals/ bisexuals by obstetricians and gynecologists, and the harassment of transgender individuals by forensic centers for receiving sex reassignment certificates were also noted.

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Transgender Citizen Dies By Suicide After Disallowance of Gender Affirming Surgery

On February 7, a transgender citizen and resident of Mariwan City died by suicide after taking pills. Reportedly, they committed suicide after a Sunni cleric disallowed their family to perform gender affirming surgery.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 20 year old Ribwar Ebrahimi committed suicide and lost their life.

“His family asked a Sunni cleric about the religious authorization of a Sex Reassignment Surgery. Confronted with this disallowance, Ribwar got upset. He/she was also under pressure not to disclose his/her identity, which all led to committing suicide by pill,” told an informed source to HRANA.

Gender affirmation surgery has not been designated as legal or illegal under Iranian civil law. In 2013, however, Family Protection Bill set out some rules about the sex change process. In 1982, in a Fatwa, Ruhollah Khomeini, authorized religiously the sex-change surgery. Nonetheless, uncertainties in the law regarding this process and official acceptance of new identity have confused many transgender citizens who are afraid of being deprived of their rights by the erratic attitude of legal authorities.

Fifteen LGBTQ+ Prisoners Being Held in Wards 2 and 10 of Rajai Shahr Prison

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, there are about 15 inmates imprisoned on LGBTQ+ related charges in Wards 2 and 10 of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

Ironically named the “cultural ward” by its residents, Ward 10 is where inmates convicted of crimes such as robbery, murder and membership in ISIS are housed. Ward 2, known as “Dar-al-Quran”, houses inmates convicted of violent crimes.

In contrast, the 15 LGBTQ+ prisoners being held in these notorious wards have largely been detained on charges related to having consensual same-sex relationships, known as “Lavat”, which are forbidden under Islamic Law.

“From the very moment they come to prison, (these prisoners) are harassed and intimated by inmates convicted of violent crimes,” an informed source told HRANA. “Some of them are still waiting for legal proceedings after two to five years.”

In Iran, rather than serving to protect sexual minorities, the law is weaponized against them. Under Chapter 1, Section 2 of the Islamic Penal Code, adult men have been sentenced to flogging and even death, just for engaging in sexual intercourse with other adult men.

“Some of them have been long time held in prison without holding any court and conviction,” the informed source added. “They are living in hard conditions worsened by the treatment of fellow inmates.”

Honoring International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, HRANA published an extensive report on the violation of the rights of sexual minorities in Iran during the last year, which includes a list of individuals and institutions who have violated the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. This list has been collected by Spreading Justice, a database of human rights violators in Iran.

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia HRA highlights the ongoing discrimination and violence against the Iranian LGBTQ+ community

Beginning in 2004, the 17th of May has been recognized as “The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia”. This day was created on the anniversary of removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the aim is to raise awareness on human rights violations committed against the LGBTQ+ community around the globe. However, Iranian legislation, continues to penalize same-sex consensual relations, by floggings, imprisonment, or the death penalty. As a result, transgender persons are subjected to daily discrimination and rights violations, i.e., pressure to undergo sex reassignment surgery only being able to change their official identity and documents after doing so. This report by Human Rights Activists in Iran’s News Agency (HRANA), gives a brief overview of the LGBTQ+ rights in Iran, highlights cases of LGBTQ+ rights violations that have taken place between 17 May 2020 to 17 May 2021 in Iran, and lastly it highlights a list of serious human rights violators who have violated the rights of LGBTQ+ community in Iran.

It should be noted that unfortunately due to cultural sensitivity and legislative discrimination around LGBTQ+ cases in Iran, many of the violations in this regard are not reported all and the actual cases may be a lot more than the reported cases.

Instances of reported Structural and Social Violence Against LGBTQ+: cases from 17 may 2020 to 17 may 2021

Iran does not recognize homosexuality, and Iranian penal code makes sexual acts between two same sex individuals punishable by law, in cases even punishable by death penalty. Under this penal code kissing between two men or two women is punishable by 60 lashes, and if two men are find naked together ( if not blood related) can be punished by 99 lashes, dissemination of materials regarding LGBTQ+ literature are considered “immoral” and “corrupt” and can receive the highest form of punishment. Iran is one of the few countries in the world who allows execution for same sex conduct. Transgender identity is only recognized through state supported sex reassignment surgery. In cases homosexual individuals are pressured to go through sex reassignment surgery to be able to avoid legal and social pressure.

In May 2020, HRANA published a report on human rights violations against transgender prisoners who are held in a separate ward in Evin prison. This ward, ward 240 hall 1, is comprised of a common hall on the ground floor of the building called “Amoozeshgah”. There have been reports of physical and verbal violence against prisoners in this ward based solely on their gender identity.

Mohsen Lorestani, an Iranian pop singer, was arrested at his mother’s home on March 3rd, 2019, and was later prosecuted by the state’s attorney. His second court session was held in branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, led by Judge Moghise. Mr. Lorestani was charged with “Corruption on earth”, his lawyer explained that this charge was based on the creation and administration of an Instagram group for transgender persons.

According to his Lawyer, Mr. Hosseini, the main accused persons in the case are military personnel, hence, his client’s charges suggest the possibility of transgender “Parastoo (Swallow)” being involved. “Parastoo” meaning Swallow Bird is a term used to refer to individuals who work with security and intelligence organs to trap their targets through romantic and sexual affiliation. This lawyer referred to the claim of “infiltration of security personnel including the highest-level political figures” by the military. Mr. Hosseini said that considering the high degree of control of the activities of the accused military persons by the security departments of military organs, the security aspect of the case is of particular importance, and it’s unreasonable to relate Mr. Lorestani with such a network. Mr. Lorestany was temporary released on 11 May 2020, on a 3 billion Toman Bail.

In June 2020, HRANA reported the summons and interrogation of several LGBTQ+ community members by the security organs after showing up on a highly visited Instagram. Several homosexual and transgender persons have faced persecution from the government because of their public presence in cyberspace where they talked about their sexual identity or orientation.

Based on HRANA’s sources, two individuals (identities protected by HRANA) in the northwestern provinces of Iran, were summoned and threatened by security organs after showing up on Instagram. “Maryam”, a transgender woman living in Iran, has spoken to HRANA about being summoned by the Morality Police of her city and being pressured to spy on her transgender friends and acquaintances to reveal information about their gatherings.

Although the National Statistics Center has never measured or published statistics on the unemployment of the transgender community, unemployment and job loss is a common concern among the transgender community living in Iran. Some transgender persons lose job opportunities because of their sexual identity and or refusal to undergo the suggested sex reassignment surgery. Several transgender persons try to hide their sexual identity from employers and colleagues even after sex reassignment surgery for job security.

In February 2020, HRANA reported on a transgender Iranian citizen deprived of employment due to the common Iranian perception that considers transgender persons “sick”. An example of such action involves a woman living in Tehran, “Delbar Ameri-Far”, who was prevented from continuing her work and renewing her license as an expert with the Iran Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). Ameri-Far was told that she could try again to get her license if she could provide sufficient documentation on her “continued treatment”. The letter from the Iranian FDA stated, “Your license renewal request will only be processed upon provision of medical documents certifying ongoing treatment and proof of your full health.”

The Iranian Public Conscription Organizations’ ongoing classification of transgender status as a disorder is while in 2019, the WHO, in their latest guidelines (ICD-11) classified transgender status under sexual health. Identifying as transgender is irrelevant to one’s mental health and according to many transgender rights activists, classifying it as a disorder leads to, among much more, social stigmatization.

Alireza Fazeli-Monfared young Homosexual person from Ahvaz was murdered on 4 May 2021 by a few men that is said to have been related to him. According to reports published on social media and LGBTQ+ rights activists his Murder has been related to expressing his sexual identity.

On 14 May 2021, Amnesty International on their social media channels, mentioned that despite ten days passing from the murder, those involved in the murder of the young 20 year were not arrested, and demanded that Iran look at his case with equal justice; they asked Iran to respect the human dignity of all sexual and gender Minorities in Iran.

According to the Iranian Penal code, same-sex consensual sexual relations are considered illegal, and if proved, are punishable by lashing, imprisonment, or the death penalty. Moreover, while not all transgender persons opt for sex reassignment surgery, under the current legislation their sexual identity is only recognized and validated after the surgery, i.e., changing names on official documentation. While there is still a gap in legislation on this topic, in 2013 a chapter of the Family Protection Act was dedicated to the transition process of transgender persons. Roohollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader at the time, authorized “sex change” surgery in a Fatwa in 1982.

While there is no international human rights mechanism that specifically addresses discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ+ community, discrimination based on sexual orientation is violation of Iran’s international human rights obligations, namely the ICCPR and ICESCR. Article 26 of the ICCPR states that the law must guarantee non-discrimination for persons “on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status .”

Additionally, the ICESCR at article 2(2) requires the state must guarantee that all individuals enjoy the rights in the ICESCR “without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.

Individuals and institutions profiled in Spreading Justice complicit in violating the rights of the LGBTQ+ community

 

Javad Momeni

Affiliation: State prisons and security and corrective measures organization

As the Executive Deputy of Evin Prison, Javad Momeni has been directly involved in gross violations of and persecution of LGBTQ+ in this prison. According to published reports, he personally harassed and insulted transgender prisoners in Ward 240, known as the Transgender Ward, which holds transgender prisoners. According to an eyewitness, “the prison guards were constantly insulting us. They said you are a disgrace or corrupt. In addition, they put a lot of psychological pressure on us. “For example, one day a prison guard showed me a piece of paper to harass me and claimed that I was going to be executed.”

Hossein Taeb

Affiliation: Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

The Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence service has been suppressing, detaining, harassing, and violating the rights of LGBTQ+ community and their rights activists, and Hussein Tayeb, as the organization’s commander, is responsible for these actions.
For example, in October 2013, IRGC intelligence agents raided a birthday party in Kermanshah and arrested several dozen people on charges of what was called “homosexuality.” According to a report published by HRANA, the news organ of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists, “the host of the party and the owner of the birthday party, nicknamed” Shervin “, was detained and tortured the most. They threw a rope into his cell and scared him. After his release, he was under pressure for a long time and was summoned until he finally committed suicide and ended his life. “Another person was under pressure for years to spy and was repeatedly contacted by IRGC intelligence.”

Seyed Ebrahim Raisi

Affiliation: Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran

as one of teh most nuterious judges who has been within the judiciaary of iran for more than 40 years in various roles, Ebrahim Raisi has played role in the violation of the rights of LGBTQ+ community.

Hossein Amirili

Affiliation: Deputy Chief of FATA Police

Hossein Amiri was appointed as the Deputy Chief of FATA Police on June 26, 2019, by the Commander in Chief of the Police Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Since then, he, along with FATA Police Chief Vahid Majid, has been responsible for all human rights violations commited by this organ, including the restrition of expresison of sexual identity and LGBTQ+ litretature.

Vahid Majid

Affiliation: Iranian Cyber Police with the abbreviated name of FATA Police

Vahid Majid as the Commander in Chief of the Iranian Cyber Police, or FATA Police, is responsible for restricting the freedom of expression in cyberspace, including the restrition of expresison of sexual identity and LGBTQ+ litretature.

 

Mahammad Moghiseh

Affiliation: Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic

As the judge of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, Moghiseh is responsible for widespread rights violations related to sexual minorities.

In November 2019, Mohammad Moghiseh sentenced Rezvaneh Mohammadi, an LGBTQ+ rights activist to five years in prison for allegedly “normalizing homosexual relations” along with the charges of “Assembly and collusion against the national security with the intention of overthrowing the regime” through “collecting information and pictures regarding the mass graves of the executed prisoners of 1988”, and “decriminalizing homosexuality”, “normalization of illegal activities of sodomy”, “removing disgrace from homosexuals”, “making homosexual activity acceptable”, “trying to make the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran answer for violating the right of homosexual people and lack of recognition of homosexuality”

 

Mousa Ghazanfar-Abadi

Affiliation: Islamic Consultative Assembly

Mousa Ghazanfar-Abadi, as the then head of the Tehran Revolutionary Courts, is responsible for violating the rights of LGBTQ+ people and prosecuting their rights activists.
In this regard, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran in November 2009 sentenced Rezvaneh Mohammadi, a LGBT rights activist, to 5 years in prison for charges of  “gathering and colluding with the intention of acting against the security of the country with the aim of overthrowing the regime”, “through collecting of information and pictures of  mass graves of those executed in mass executions of 1988”, “decriminalization of homosexuality”, “normalization of illegitimate sodomy”, “decriminalization of homosexual acts”, “acceptance of homosexuality”, “efforts to hold the authorities of the Islamic Republic accountable for human rights violations and non-recognition Homosexuality”

Mahammad-Ali Jafari

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

As commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC), Jafari has been directly involved in widespread human rights violations by the Revolutionary Guards, including violations of the rights of sexual and religious minorities, torture of opponents of the Islamic Republic, violations of women’s rights, violations of the right to life, and the severe suppression of social freedoms in Iran.

In October 2013 IRGC-IO’s agents attacked a birthday party in Kermanshah and arrested a few dozen people for “homosexuality”. According to HRANA, “the host of the birthday party, nicknamed as Shervin, was held in prison and tortured more than the others. Agents put hang rope in his cell and threatened him. After release he was under a lot of pressure and was summoned until he committed suicide.

HALALZADEHA POPULAR MOVEMENT
(hate group) 

The Halalzadeha Popular Movement is responsible for discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ+ community – including forming gatherings against sexual minorities. in one of the gatherings of this group they march over the rainbow flag and pass over it by their motorcycles to show their hatred.

 

FERGHE NEWS

Ferghe News actively publishes discriminatory articles targeting LGBTQ+ individuals.


For further inquiries please contact Skylar Thompson, Senior Advocacy Coordinator Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) at [email protected]