Two men convicted for blasphemt were executed in Iran
Iran executed two Iranian men for alleged charges of blasphemy. Yusef Mehrdad and Sadrullah Fazeli Zare were sentenced to death by hanging after they were arrested in May 2020 for sharing content that “insulted Islamic sanctities” and “insulted the Prophet.”
Reports show that during their imprisonment, the two were denied family visits and phone calls and at times, were held in solitary confinement. Mehrdad and Zare leave behind several family members, including three children and an elderly mother, respectively.
These executions follow months of unrest in the country after 22-year-old Mahsa Zhina Amini was arrested for improperly wearing the hijab and died in police custody. Iran has seen nationwide protests calling for increased human rights and an overthrow of the Islamic government. Shannon Kleinbaum, a Commissioner from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), cites the recent executions as an example of Iran’s desperation to “maintain power through force.”
Kleinbaum further shared, “I think that there is a sense that Iran is increasingly desperate. And when we know authoritarian theocracies are desperate, they often turn to very, very extreme acts.”
According to one Iran Human Rights Group, the number of executions in Iran rose by 75% in 2022 – and with more than 200 prisoners having already been executed since the start of this year, some estimate that Iran is on track to beat last year’s record.