Iran hangs two prisoners for blasphemy

Tehran, May 8 (EFE).- Iran Monday carried out the execution of two men on charges of blasphemy, according to the Mizan news agency.

Yousef Mehrdad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare were hanged in the morning after being convicted of crimes against Islam and promoting atheism.

They were found guilty of operating a network that disseminated anti-Islam content, including insults directed towards Prophet Muhammad, and spreading atheism within Iran.

The Mizan report alleged that Mehrdad had a copy of a documentary of a Quran being set on fire.

The Iranian judiciary stated that the two individuals used French telephone numbers to conduct their anti-religious activities online.

Mehrad, father of three, and Fazeli-Zare were arrested in May 2020 after authorities accused them and five others of being a member of a Telegram channel, “Critique of Superstition and Religion.”

The group allegedly expressed opinions about Islam and its Prophet Muhammad that were deemed insulting by the Islamic Republic.

Both men confessed to their crimes and had legal representation during their trials.

Mizan chose not to publish the specific insults against Islam, citing their extreme offensiveness.

US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) raised a red flag last week over reports that Iran might execute the two prisoners for insulting the prophet.

Mehrad and Fazeli-Zare were earlier transferred to solitary confinement, raising fears that their execution was imminent.

“USCIRF is outraged and alarmed by indications that Iran may imminently execute Yusef Mehrdad and Seyyed Sadrullah Fazeli-Zare in the religious charge of insulting the Prophet. Execution for blasphemy is a grave violation of religious freedom,” USCIRF Commissioner Sharon Kleinbaum tweeted last Friday.

Iran has a strict stance against perceived offenses against Islam and a history of notable cases like the 1989 death fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against writer Salman Rushdie.;

The British writer of Indian origin was stabbed in one eye in New York in August last year, decades after the fatwa.

Iran is known to have a high number of executions, with 246 recorded in 2021. EFE


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