Target: Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic
Goal: Stop execution of Iranian man sentenced to death for “insulting the Prophet of Islam”
Soheil Arabi, an Iranian photographer, has been sentenced to death over several Facebook posts that a panel of judges deemed to be “insulting” toward the Prophet. His sentence was upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court and he faces execution. Sign the petition demanding that Iran respect its citizens’ right to free speech and eschew the death penalty in favor of more humane punishment.
International human rights law declares that the death penalty may only be used for “the most serious crimes.” This has largely been interpreted by a number of countries and legal bodies to indicate “intentional killing,”Amnesty International reports. Arabi’s Facebook posts hardly constitute an act of this magnitude and fall securely within his internationally recognized right to freedom of expression.
Since his arrest, Arabi has been subjected to two months of solitary confinement in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison. He was also pressured into confessing, Amnesty reports.
Freedom of expression is a necessary and internationally recognized human right, and Arabi’s conviction and punishment violates this protection. Sign the petition and urge the Iranian government to drop the charges against Arabi and free him immediately, as well as encourage the government to impose a moratorium on the death penalty altogether.
I am writing to protest in the very strongest terms the death sentence levied upon Soheil Arabi, whose Facebook posts were deemed “insulting to the Prophet of Islam” by a panel of judges. Such a ruling violates not only his internationally-recognized right to freedom of expression but also international agreements that reserve capital punishment for only “the most serious crimes.” I therefore ask you to overturn Arabi’s sentence and free him immediately, and I urge you to impose a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing it altogether.
Arabi’s Facebook posts fall well within his right to freedom of expression, and the fact that capital punishment for this crime has even been discussed, let alone agreed upon, is appalling. Most international bodies have interpreted capital punishment’s restriction to only “the most serious crimes” to refer to intentional killing, which is a far cry from some potentially offensive Facebook posts.
Iran’s citizens have the right to their own opinions and beliefs and should not be sentenced to die because of them. Please do what is right: free Soheil Arabi and impose a moratorium on the death penalty.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Simon via Pixabay