Political Prisoner Shahriar Bayat Sentenced to Death for Alleged Insult to Prophet of Islam

Political Prisoner Shahriar Bayat Sentenced to Death for Alleged Insult to Prophet of Islam

Shahriar Bayat, a 64-year-old political prisoner currently held in Evin Prison, has been sentenced to death by the Tehran Criminal Court for allegedly “insulting the prophet of Islam.”

Confirming this conviction, a source close to Bayat’s family informed HRANA that Bayat received this sentence on March 24, 2024, the final day of his furlough from Evin Prison. This verdict was issued by Branch 13 of the Tehran Criminal Court. According to the source, Bayat’s wife, Nahid, is not in good health to inquire about her husband’s legal case.

Bayat faces legal proceedings in both the Criminal and Revolutionary Courts. Reports obtained by HRANA indicate that the majority of the board of judges in the Criminal Court convicted Bayat of “insulting the prophet of Islam, Shia Imams, and other Islamic sanctities through the publication of pictures and posts on social media.”

This verdict contradicts the earlier decision by a minority panel, which commuted Bayat’s sentence to six months in prison after he expressed remorse. The verdict can be appealed within 20 days of its issuance.

Notably, the Shahriar Public and Revolutionary Court initially had jurisdiction over this legal case and closed this case. However, due to the insistence of the Shahriar prosecutor, the court transferred the case to the Tehran Criminal Court.

Shahriar Bayat’s legal troubles began on September 25, 2022, when he was arrested by security forces during nationwide protests at his residence in the city of Shahriar and subsequently detained in the Great Tehran Penitentiary. He was later transferred to Evin Prison.

On March 1, 2023, the Shahriar Revolutionary Court sentenced Bayat to a total of 18 years in prison for various charges including “forming illegal groups to act against national security,” “assembly and collusion to act against national security,” “insulting the former and current Supreme Leader of Iran,” and “propaganda against the regime.” Pursuant to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, which mandates the enforcement of the harshest punishment in cases of multiple charges, Bayat’s sentence was initially ten years, later reduced to eight years and six months following his request for a reduction in punishment.

In July-August 2023, in a letter addressed to the judiciary, Bayat wrote about his imprisonment at the age of 63, emphasizing his lack of prior political activism and attributing his incarceration solely to content found on his cell phone, much of which he claimed was commonplace on the internet. He also highlighted his denial of medical care for digestive diseases during his detention in the Great Tehran Penitentiary.

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