Washington, DC - We are deeply concerned by reports that a Revolutionary Court in Iran has sentenced to death Mohammad Ali Taheri, the Iranian founder of a spiritual movement, on the charge of “corruption on earth.” We also are disturbed that a number of the movement’s followers reportedly have been sentenced to prison terms for similarly vague so-called crimes.
The ability of citizens to exercise their rights of freedom of religion and expression are fundamental principles of universally-recognized human rights enshrined in international law.
It is our understanding that Taheri, who has been held in Evin Prison in solitary confinement since his October 2011 conviction on charges of “insulting Islamic sanctities,” received this sentence in response to his peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. To sentence a citizen to death for exercising these freedoms represents an extreme violation of his rights.
We call on the Iranian Government to rescind Taheri’s death sentence and accord him full due process and to uphold freedom of expression and belief for its citizens.