Iran Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a local blogger accused of insulting Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. 30-year-old Soheil Arabi was arrested on November 2013 for writing anti-religious posts. The details of what entailed in those posts has never been revealed, and the posts have been deleted since then. Also Read - Facebook gives voice to emojis with Soundmoji: Here's how to send
He was arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) and was sentenced to death in September after he admitted that he ran several Facebook pages in which he generated posts insulting the Prohpet. Also Read - Netflix could launch its video game streaming service next year, at no extra cost
Arabi’s lawyers argued that he had done this while ‘in poor psychological condition’, and that he was merely sharing views held by others, as reported by Human Rights Watch in Iran. Article 263 of the revised Islamic Penal Code states that a person who ‘insults the Prophet’ while drunk or by quoting others, among other acts, will be subjected to 74 lashes and not sentenced to death. Also Read - You can now use WhatsApp web without your phone
However, Iran’s SC upheld the conviction and went a step further by adding a charge of “sowing corruption of Earth,” which is also punishable by death and cannot be pardoned.
Arabi’s wife was also arrested last year with him, but was released soon after, while her husband stayed in jail where he was allegedly threatened to confess, and wasn’t even allowed to meet his lawyer.
Iran is one of the world’s most prolific jailers of writers, according to Reporters Without Borders. As of July, at least 65 journalists, bloggers, and social media activists were in prison on various charges related to their speech or writings. In May, Iran police arrested four men and three women for uploading a video on YouTube where they are dancing to Pharell William’s song Happy, accusing them of ‘engaging in illicit relations’.
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