Two Iranians given death sentences for 'insulting Prophet Muhammad'

Two Iranians given death sentences for 'insulting Prophet Muhammad'
Two Iranian men were handed death sentences on Thursday for 'insulting Prophet Muhammad'.
2 min read
26 April, 2021
Security forces reportedly arrested the pair between May and June last year [Getty]
A criminal court in central Iran has handed two men death sentences on charges of insulting Prophet Muhammad, Iranian media report.

The two men, held in a jail in the central city of Arak, Markazi province, were notified of their sentence on Thursday, according to Human Rights News Agency (HRNA).

In a joint case, the court found both men guilty of charges of insulting the Muslim prophet and "blasphemy", both of which carry the death penalty under Iranian law.

Security forces reportedly arrested the pair in the Persian month of Khordad, falling between May and June, last year.

HRNA provided further details about one of the men, named as father-of-three Yusuf Mehrdad. He was arrested in his home in the city of Ardabil, some 479 kilometres northwest of Arak, before being transferred to a prison in the central city.

He was held under solitary confinement for two months and denied visits from friends and family for eight months.

HRNA said he faces an additional roster of charges which will be processed by a revolutionary court in Khordad this year. They include "incitement to sedition, forming a group, insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic and its current leader".

In a report published last week by Amnesty International, Iran was identified as the most prolific user of the death penalty, with at least 246 people executed in 2020.

It gave no data on China, which is thought to execute thousands yearly.

Read also: Iran 'obsessively' carrying out executions: activists

The figures on Iran were slightly higher in a report by the Paris-based Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) and Iran Human Rights (IHR), published late March, which found that at least 267 were executed in the previous year.

Their report, which described Iran as "obsessively" executing death row inmates despite declining public support for capital punishment, found that at least four were juvenile offenders and nine were women.

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