Iran Sentences Prisoner Mohammad Ali Taheri to Death

The Iranian regime’s judiciary has sentenced to death political prisoner Mohammad Ali Tehari, his attorney told news agencies on Sunday. Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei told The Associated Press that the court has sentenced his client to death on charges of “founding a cult.” The 61-year-old Taheri has been held in solitary confinement for over six years in Tehran’s Evin prison.

In an Urgent Action issued in July, Amnesty International had warned about Taheri facing death Penalty.

“Prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri is accused of ‘spreading corruption on earth’ (efsad-e fel arz) through the establishment of the spiritual group Erfan-e Halgheh and its related teachings. His trial started on 6 March before Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.” said a statement by Amnesty International.

“This is the third time that Mohammad Ali Taheri is standing trial on the charge of ‘spreading corruption on earth’. The first time was in 2011 when a Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment for ‘insulting Islamic sanctities’ but said further investigations were necessary before it could rule on the charge of “spreading corruption on earth.”

“For the next four years, the authorities kept him in solitary confinement in Section 2A of Evin prison, where he remains imprisoned, under the pretext of conducting investigations. This time counted toward his five-year sentence, which was deemed complete in February 2016. He was ultimately tried again on the charge of ‘spreading corruption on earth’ in 2015 and sentenced to death, but he was acquitted in June 2016. Despite this, he was not released and in late 2016, the authorities charged him again with ‘spreading corruption on earth’ based on the same activities that had formed the basis of his 2011 conviction.”

On Sunday, a group of Taheri’s followers gathered outside “Revolutionary Court” in Tehran to protest the death penalty. In recent weeks, authorities have detained dozens of his followers protesting ill treatment of Taheri.