A court in Iran sentenced two LGBTQ rights activists to death on allegations of encouraging homosexuality.

According to the Hengaw Kurdish rights organisation, the two women, Zahra Sedighi Hamedani, 31, and Elham Chubdar, 24, were sentenced to death by a court in the northwestern town of Urmia.

They were convicted of “spreading corruption on earth.” This accusation is routinely levied on individuals who are found to have violated the country’s sharia regulations.


They were also charged with preaching Christianity and communicating with international media.

Iran’s judiciary has confirmed the sentences but said they were connected to human trafficking and not with LGBT activism.

“Contrary to the news published in cyberspace and the rumours that have been spread, these two individuals have been accused of deceiving women and young girls and trafficking them to one of the countries of the region,” the judiciary’s news outlet Mizan reported.

Homosexuality is illegal in Iran, and same-sex intimacy for both men and women is officially criminalised in the penal code.