Iranian Faces Death Penalty for “Insulting Islam”

Another Iranian man is facing the death penalty after being arrested and imprisoned for 11 weeks over his online activities. It comes after an elderly fishmonger was arrested in December for singing and dancing in public and posting it on social media.

32-year-old Hassan Khalkhal Zard, a motor courier originally from the northeastern city of Galikesh, in Golestan province, but working in Iran’s capital, Tehran, was arrested last October 1st by intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

A source close to Zard revealed that he is currently being held in the quarantine ward of Gonbad-e Kavus prison in Galikesh. He is facing three charges: insulting the holy tenets of Islam, insulting the leader of the Islamic Republic, and blasphemy, which all carry the death penalty.

The accusations were based on Zard’s posts on Instagram, where he occasionally shared his frustrations with the Islamic Republic and the ongoing situation in Iran.

"Please don't let them commit their crime in silence before it's too late. The people of Iran should know for which imaginary crimes young people are being killed," the source said.

Zard’s motorcycle was stolen last May, and during a trip to Galikesh in October to visit his family, he visited the prosecutor’s office to get updates on his case. There, he was handed over to intelligence agencies of the IRGC.

"The motorcycle was crucial for him as it was his livelihood, and he faced significant challenges without it," the source also added.

Hassan spent 10 days at the Intelligence Department's detention center in Galikesh before he was moved to the Gonbad-e Kavus prison.

"Like many others, Hassan was discontented, fatigued, and frustrated by the state of the country,” the source said. “Only God knows what awaits people like him who endure deprivation and suffering."

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