Iran Sentences Blogger to Death Over Facebook Posts

Iran Sentences Blogger to Death Over Facebook Posts

Iranian blogger Soheil Arabi, 30, was sentenced to death due to numerous Facebook posts that insulted the Prophet Mohammed. One source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) that Arabi can appeal the verdict on September 20 and he might have a chance to win.

In November 2013, the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Sarallah Base arrested Arabi and his wife. He was held in solitary confinement for two months and transferred to Evin’s General Ward 350. His case finally went to court where the “Branch 76 of The Tehran Criminal Court, under Judge Khorasani, found Arabi guilty of “sabb al-nabi” (insulting the Prophet), on August 30, 2014.

“The way he was arrested was illegal,” said the source. “It is not clear how the agents were able to enter their home at that time in the morning. All the doors were locked and family members were asleep. Agents entered his home and bedroom. He and his wife were arrested and some of their photographs and personal belongings were taken after their home was searched.”

However, the source told the ICHRI that Judge Khorasani ignore Article 264 in the Tehran Penal Code. Arabi said he “wrote the material without thinking and in poor psychological condition.” This means the judge should have abided by Article 264.

“Article 262 of the Islamic Penal Code states that if a person insults the Prophet of Islam, his punishment is death,” he said. “But in Article 264, it explicitly says that if a suspect merely claims in court that he said the insulting words in anger, in quoting someone, or by mistake, his death sentence will be converted to 74 lashes. I would like to emphasize that if only the suspect claims this, he will not be eligible for death, and there is no need to even prove his claim.”

In November 2012, the family of Sattar Beheshti accused officials of torturing him to death after he criticized Iran on a Facebook post. Fata, Iran’s cyber-police, arrested him for “acting against the national security.” He was also placed in the Evin prison. A policeman was convicted in August for Beheshti’s death. He received three years in jail and two in internal exile. Behshti’s mother said the sentence was too light.


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