Target: Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei
Goal: Halt the execution of Soheil Arabi for insulting a religious figure on Facebook
In Iran, 30-year-old Soheil Arabi has been sentenced to death because he insulted the Prophet Muhammad on Facebook. A Tehran court sentenced him to hang for his crimes, but Arabi’s legal team is fighting desperately against this ruling. This sentence is not only injust, but it spreads fear and terror within the rest of the country. Freedom of speech is a human right, but Iran continues to withhold this freedom. Urge Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to drop these charges so Soheil Arabi can return home to be with his family.
Called sabb al-nabbi, or “insulting the prophet,” this crime is punishable by death in Iran. Freedom of expression is permitted in the United States, but expressing your opinions, especially those that insult the prophet, carries steep consequences in the Middle East. Arabi’s wife, Nastaran Naimi, told Human Rights Watch that she and her husband were closely monitored by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and both were subsequently arrested on November 2013. She has since been released, but her husband was not so fortunate. He was sent to prison, where he spent two months in solitary confinement and was subjected to lengthy interrogation sessions. He was also denied access to a lawyer.
Iran’s Supreme Court has also added the charge of efsad-e fel arz or “sowing corruption of earth” to Arabi’s criminal record. This prevents him from receiving any amount of amnesty for his crimes. The amount of effort the Iranian government is exerting to sentence this man to death is astonishing. The country has been known for its aggressive human rights violations, but to put a man to death simply because of what he said on Facebook is atrocious. Urge Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to spare Soheil Arabi’s life by signing this petition.
Dear Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,
Recently the Supreme Court prevented Soheil Arabi to seek amnesty for his crime of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. I find this case extremely absurd, especially since Arabi did not commit any act of violence. The majority of the Arabi’s content on Facebook was him merely sharing the views of other people, and yet this is enough to get him sentenced to death. This ruling is preposterous and only sows the seed of doubt and fear.
I am writing this letter urging you to drop the charges against Arabi. This man has a family to support and friends who love him dearly. Those that deserve to be in prison are those that have committed acts of gross violence, not someone who wishes to speak their mind. I highly suggest that the law be rewritten so other Iranian citizens can express their opinions without fear of execution.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Facebook via Wikimedia Commons