An Iranian man has been sentenced to death for “insulting the Prophet of Islam”. Soheil Arabi has now had his sentence upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court. He was sentenced for posts deemed offensive to the Prophet he had made on Facebook.
Photogrpaher Soheil Arabi, 30, was sentenced to death on 30 August 2014 for “insulting the Prophet of Islam” (Sabbo al-Nabbi) by a five-judge panel of Branch 76 of the Criminal Court of Tehran: three of the judges ruled in favour of the death penalty.
The charge stems from postings Soheil Arabi made on eight Facebook accounts, which the authorities said belong to Soheil Arabi. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence on 24 November. In a separate case stemming from the same Facebook posts, Soheil Arabi was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting the leader”, by a Tehran Revolutionary Court on 4 September.
Soheil Arabi was arrested in November 2013, by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in his home in Tehran, and spent two months in solitary confinement in section 2A of Evin Prison, which is under the control of the IRGC. During interrogation, he was pressured into making a “confession”. He was later transferred to Section 350 of the Prison, which is under the control of the Judiciary.
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Human right watch, and the Amnesty organisation, has invited everyone to call on the Iranian authorities not to execute Soheil Arabi, and to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty.