Two Prisoners of Conscience Executed in Arak Prison

On May 8, 2023, Yousef Mehrad and Seyed Sadrollah Fazeli Zare were executed in Arak Prison after being sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet of Islam. Earlier, HRANA had reported on their relocation to solitary confinement for one day which is deemed as a prelude to carrying out the death penalty.

According to Mizan, the judiciary’s news, Fazeli Zare had been accused of “insulting the Prophet of Islam, blasphemy, apostasy, accusing the Prophet of Islam’s mother of adultery, and burning the Quran”, while Mehrad was charged with “insulting the Prophet of Islam and blasphemy.”

The prisoners were among seven individuals arrested for running a Telegram channel named “Criticism of Superstition and Religion,” and had been held in solitary confinement for two months since their arrest.

In the first two parts of their legal case, the Arak Criminal Court sentenced Mehrad and Fazeli Zare to death for insulting the prophet of Islam. In the third part, the Arak Revolutionary Court sentenced Mehrad, Fazeli Zare, and another co-defendant, Farhad Chehrehsa, to eight years for “running groups to act national security.”
Despite an appeal by their lawyers to the Supreme Court, the verdict was upheld.

Mehrad was a resident of Ardabil and the father of a three-year-old child.

Two Prisoners of Conscience at Risk of Execution

Yousef Mehrad and Seyed Sadrollah Fazeli Zare, two prisoners of conscience previously sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet of Islam, have been transferred to solitary confinement in Arak Prison. This development has raised concerns about the possibility of their execution, as such transfers are often a prelude to carrying out the death penalty.

According to an informed source close to their families who spoke to HRANA, the families have kept the verdicts silent in the hope of saving their children’s lives. However, they are becoming increasingly worried as events seem to be moving in a different direction from what officials had promised.

The source revealed that their fellow inmates had informed their families about the relocation, but prison officials have not communicated anything to their lawyers or families. Furthermore, the families’ inquiries to prison officials have remained unanswered. This lack of information is causing additional anxiety for the families.

Mehrad and Fazeli Zare, along with five others, Farhad Chehrehsa, Mohammad Zohreh Vandi, Akram Safaie Tavana, Mohammad Fallah Rashkola and Kobra Imani, were arrested by security forces for running a Telegram channel named “Criticism of Superstition and Religion.” Mehrad and Fazeli have been held in solitary confinement for two months since their arrest.

In the first two parts of their legal case, the Arak Criminal Court sentenced Mehrad and Fazeli Zare to death for insulting the prophet of Islam. In the third part, the Arak Revolutionary Court sentenced Mehrad, Fazeli Zare, and Farhad Chehrehsa to eight years for “running groups to act national security.” However, by applying Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code and pleading no contest, their sentences were reduced to six years.

Mehrad is a resident of Ardabil and the father of a three-year-old child.