Iranian authorities have sentenced a 21-year-old man to death for “insulting Islam” through text messages sent on a mobile application, The Independent reported. Sina Dehghan, who was 19 at the time of the incident, confessed to the “crime” after he was promised pardon in exchange. According to Dehghan’s lawyers, the prosecutors went back on the agreement and he was consequently given the death sentence.
Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) claimed that in January, the Supreme Court upheld the 2015 death sentence issued against the Iranian youth by the Arak Criminal Court. Dehghan, who had been charged for “insulting the prophet”, was also issued a 16-month prison sentence for “insulting the supreme leader.” Iran’s Islamic Penal Code states that insulting the prophet is punishable by death. However, if the accused admits that their insults were made in anger or were a mistake, the sentence could be reduced to 74 lashings.
The family of 21-year-old, who had been arrested in October 2015, thus were hoping to ensure freedom for Dehghan. “Security and judicial authorities promised Sina’s family that if they didn’t make any noise about his case, he would have a better chance of being freed, and that talking about it to the media would work against him,” an informed source was quoted as saying to CHRI. Later in a video interview to CHRI, the Iranian youth’s mother said, “According to Sina’s lawyer, steps have been taken for a judicial review, and with the good news we’re hearing from him, God willing this case will come to end positively as soon as possible.”
Dehghan who is in the Arak prison ever since his arrest is said to have been depressed. A CHRI source said, “Sina is not feeling well. He’s depressed and cried constantly. He’s being held in a ward with drug convicts and murderers who broke his jaw a while ago.”
The development once again sheds light on the executions carried out in Iran. Amnesty International reported that there were 289 state executions carried out in the country in 2014. In the following year, at least 966 people were executed, as per UN data.