28 July 2022

In October 2021, an LGBTIQ+ rights activist Zahra Sedighi-Hamadani, also known as Sareh, was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Iran while she was attempting to cross the border to seek asylum in Turkey. She was charged with crossing the border illegally, and targeted for participating in an interview with BBC Persian and speaking up on the situation of LGBTIQ+ persons in Erbil, Iraq.

In a statement, the IRGC accused Sareh of: “Promoting homosexuality, gambling, fraud, and promoting illicit sexual relations and publishing them on the Internet.” No evidence has been offered by the IRGC to substantiate these baseless accusations, nor has Sareh benefitted from any due process. Reports indicate that Sareh was coerced into confessing to these “crimes”, potentially through acts of torture, including solitary confinement and threats that the State will take custody of her two children.

We expressly condemn the unjust and cruel arrest and detention of Sareh by the IRGC, and equally condemns the accusations of ‘spreading corruption on earth,’ including through ‘promoting homosexuality’. We are critically aware and alarmed that these accusations can lead to a criminal conviction in Iran that could lead to capital punishment.

The risk that Sareh may be executed is real and therefore we call for all charges against Sareh to be dropped and for her immediate release from Urmia prison in Iran.

We reiterate this urgent message from 6Rang, the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network:

“It is clear to all of us that what has taken place is not due process, but a re-run of a show familiar to many of us who grew up in the suffocating atmosphere of the Islamic Republic. Sareh must be released immediately and unconditionally. We ask all human rights organizations and the media not to ignore Sareh’s detention, and to work for her freedom.”

In Solidarity,

  • 6rang

  • 75 SHOTS

  • All Out

  • Amerta Reksa Kayana


  • Arus Pelangi

  • ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

  • Asia Pacific Transgender Network

  • Bisexual Alliance Victoria Inc

  • Blue Diamond Society

  • Cangkang Queer 

  • Capital Punishment Justice


  • Creme de la Creme Nigeria 

  • Equal Asia Foundation

  • F2BM

  • Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB)

  • galck+

  • GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation

  • Green Papua community

  • GWL Maluku 

  • GWL-INA Indonesia 

  • HIV Justice Network

  • HIV Legal Network

  • Human Rights Campaign

  • ILGA Asia

  • ILGA World

  • International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

  • Inti Muda Indonesia

  • Journalist Association for Diversity

  • JTID

  • Karyadara

  • Koalisi Seni Indonesia

  • Kolektif Tanpa Nama

  • Komunitas Sehati Makassar 

  • Leto (learning together)

  • LGBT social movement “REVERS”

  • Maleo Central Sulawesi, Indonesia 

  • Mari Jeung Rebut Kembali 

  • Metropolitan Community Churches, Global Justice Institute

  • Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA)

  • Narasi Toleransi Indonesia

  • QLC

  • Rainbow Railroad

  • Sahabat SulTeng

  • Sexual Rights Centre 

  • Srikandi Sejati Foundation Ijakarya Indonesia

  • St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation

  • State University of Yogyakarta, Indonesia

  • Tarena

  • Tifa Foundation 

  • Trans proud

  • Transmen Indonesia

  • Yayasan Keadilan dan Perdamaian Indonesia

  • Yayasan Srikandi sejati

  • Youth Interfaith Forum on Sexuality (YIFoS Indonesia)

For enquiries, please email:

Ryan Ong, ILGA Asia Communications Officer at

Melika Zarr, 6Rang Media And Communications Manager at

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