We express our concern and support of Soheil Arabi, an Iranian atheist, activist, and blogger who has been in prison for blasphemy charges since 2013.
Arabi was arrested in December 2013 and sentenced to death for blasphemy by insulting the prophet, Khamenei, and other Iranian officials in a Facebook post. In 2015, after an appeal, his sentence was reduced to several years in prison. While in prison, he has continued to write letters describing the inhumane prison conditions, torture, and the situation of political prisoners in Iran. For writing about prison conditions and his critique of the Islamic regime in Iran, three additional years have been added to his sentence. He has been physically and psychologically tortured, and his family members repeatedly harassed.
Arabi is currently on a hunger strike to protest Iranian regime’s denial of medical care, prison conditions, and the denial of leave during the coronavirus pandemic.
Blasphemy laws stand in opposition to the fundamental human rights of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion – which includes both the right to believe and not believe – along with the human right to freedom of expression. Shuddhashar stands in solidarity with Soheil Arabi and others who are imprisoned, tortured, or even executed for expressing their views on religion.