Iran executes two men for blasphemy
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Amid a spike in the number of executions it has carried out since last year’s nationwide anti-government protests, Iran has just executed two Iranian men charged with blasphemy for insulting Islam and the Islamic prophet Muhammad, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, there are currently more than 150 people imprisoned in Iran for their religious beliefs.
Yusef Mehrdad and Sadrullah Fazeli Zare were hanged after being arrested in May 2020 for sharing content that “insulted Islamic sanctities” and “insulted the Prophet,” ICC said. The two men were charged under Article 513 of the Iranian Penal Code which reads: “Any person [who] insults the sacred values of Islam or any of Great Prophets or the [twelve Shi’ite] imams or the Holy Fatemeh [daughter of Prophet Mohammad], if considered as sāb-al-nabi shall be punishable by the death penalty; otherwise shall be sentenced to one to five years imprisonment.”
During their imprisonment, Mehrdad and Zare were denied family visits and phone calls and were kept in solitary confinement at times, ICC detailed in its report. “Mehrdad and Zare leave behind several family members, including three children and an elderly mother, respectively,” ICC said.
Its laws and its enforcement of those laws make Iran an extremely dangerous place for people of minority faiths, not least Christians. Indeed, Iran ranks 8 on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, there are currently more than 150 people imprisoned in Iran for their religious beliefs. “Many of these prisoners will face egregiously long prison sentences, solitary confinement, lack access to fair representation, and at worst, face the death penalty,” ICC noted.
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