In the report of Mostafa Salem on CNN, Iran hanged two people convicted of blasphemy.
Yusef Mehrdad and Sadrullah Fazeli Zare were the people hanged. They were arrested in May 2020 and sentenced to death in April 2021 for running online Anti-Islam groups and channels.
What is Blasphemy?
Blasphemy is the action or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.
Why did Iran hanged two people convicted of blasphemy?
The authorities convicted both after they were found to be members of a Telegram channel titled “Critique of Superstition and Religion,” according to the US Commission of International Religious Freedom.
The member of the Telegram channel allegedly shared opinions insulting Islam. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom claimed that one member of the telegram channel allegedly said that they set religious books on fire. Iran’s state-run AlAlam said Mehrdad was filmed burning the Quran.
After the arrest of Zera and Mehrdad, they were denied family visits and phone calls for eight months. Because of this, Mehrdad reportedly went on hunger strike in February 2022 to protest to authorities for refusing him permission to make phone calls.
The United Nations expert published a statement in August regarding this matter,” Such state-sanctioned intolerance furthers extremism and violence. We call on the Iranian authorities to de-criminalize blasphemy and take meaningful steps to ensure the right to freedom of religion or belief.”
The execution of these two come days after the execution of a dual Swedish-Iranian national, Habib Chaab, who was convicted for leading a national Arab separatist group accused of attacks in Iran.
There was a joint report from Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and the France-based Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) revealed that there was an increase of 75% executions from last year. It was the highest number of executions in the Islamic republic since 2015.
The report found there was a “surge” of executions in Iran following the death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September. Amini’s death sparked a months-long national uprising, which was eventually quashed by a brutal police crackdown.