This man is facing execution for his Facebook posts

This man is facing execution for his Facebook posts

Soheil Arabi with his 5-year-old daughter, Rojan (pic: Human Rights Watch)

Soheil Arabi is 30 years old.

Last month he was sentenced to death by Iran's supreme court for Facebook posts linked to his account after they were deemed to insult the prophet Mohammad, Human Rights Watch reports. Now the group is calling on Iran's judiciary to free him, with Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director saying in a statement that they were penalising "free expression" with death.

It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting.

  • Eric Goldstein

Mr Arabi was arrested along with his wife in November 2013 by agents from Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran he had kept eight Facebook pages under different names and admitted to posting material insulting to the Prophet Mohammad on these pages.

His lawyer, Vahid Moshkhani, said the Supreme Court did not accept the defence that he was sharing the view of others' on Facebook, rather than writing his own posts. He was sentenced to death in August 2014 and Iran's supreme Court upheld the decision last month.

Article 262 of the Islamic Penal Code states insulting the Prophet Mohammad carries a punishment of death.

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