Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: YouTube/6rangIran
A lesbian woman in Iran has been arrested for "supporting homosexuality", according to a queer Iranian organisation.
The individual, known as Sareh [below, right], was arrested on 27 October while trying to cross the border to Turkey, The Iranian and Lesbian and Transgender Network [6Rang] reported Tuesday.
The 28-year-old was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] in the West Azerbaijan Province, the group claims.
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Same-sex relations are illegal in Iran under Islamic law, and punishable by imprisonment, fines, lashings, and execution.
"Forming a gang for trafficking girls and supporting homosexuality"
The pro-Iran Tasnim news agency reports [as per the Jerusalem Post] that other individuals were detained on charges of "forming a gang for trafficking girls and supporting homosexuality."
The Islamic Republic’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reportedly said in a statement that one of the charges was "communicating and supporting homosexual groups" who "operated under the auspices of the trans-regional intelligence services.“
According to 6Rang, Sareh was recently 'identified and detained for 21 days by the Iraqi Kurdistan police after her interview with BBC Persian about the situation of the LGBTQ community in Iraqi Kurdistan.'
In a video sent to 6Rang, Sareh explains: "I may be arrested at any moment because they have all the information about me. They are after me. I have to get out immediately. I don't know if I can do it or not. My life is really in danger here."
Sarah later adds: "I wanted to make you understand, to see how much we [are] suffering as the LGBTQ community. And we resist to the end for our feelings, whether with death or freedom, we will remain true to ourselves. I hope the day will come where we can all live freely in our country."
Amnesty Iran said in a Twitter statement: "We are concerned by reports from @6rangiran that an Iranian lesbian woman, Sareh, was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards on 27 Oct in West Azerbaijan province near the border w/Turkey. The criminalization of LGBTI people perpetuates violence & discrimination against them.
"We renew our calls on Iran's authorities to decriminalize same-sex sexual conduct; immediately release all those detained on the basis of their identity or for defending LGBTI rights; and adopt legislation to respect and protect the human rights of LGBTI people."