The news website of the judiciary in Iran, Mizan, announced on Monday that two men who had been given death sentences for blasphemy had been executed.
Yousef Mehrad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare were put to death in the Arak jail in central Iran. According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, they were detained in May 2020 on suspicion of participating in the Critique of Superstition and Religion Telegram channel. According to the panel, both individuals were confined to solitary confinement for months without access to family members. Mizan confirmed this by saying that the two were operating a large number of websites that promoted atheism, Islamophobia, and other anti-religious viewpoints.
Iran Human Rights director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, claimed that the killings demonstrated the “medieval nature” of theocracy in Iran. He said, “The international community must show with its reaction that executions for expressing an opinion is intolerable, the refusal of the international community to react decisively is a green light for the Iranian government and likeminded people around the world.”
U.N. experts have urged Iran, a mostly Shi’ite Muslim nation, to cease persecuting and harassing religious minorities, pointing out that Iran has a strategy of focusing on anyone who hold opposing beliefs or practices, including atheists and Christian converts.
According to Iran Human Rights, Iran killed at least 582 individuals in 2022, up from 333 in 2021. The most recent assessment on executions by Amnesty International ranked Iran as the second-largest executioner in the world, trailing only China, which is said to execute thousands of people annually.