By Lisa Daftari
Only a day after an extension was announced on the nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Tehran, news broke that Iranian courts confirmed the death sentence for the Internet activist who was imprisoned for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammad.
Soheil Arabi, 30, a photographer, came under regime scrutiny in November 2013 for his various Facebook posts. He was allegedly active under multiple accounts.
Arabi was arrested together with his wife, Nastaran Naeimi, who was released after a few hours.
The couple has a five-year-old daughter.
According to Arabi’s wife, the only evidence the government has against her husband are printouts of his alleged Facebook pages. She maintains he did not write many of the posts personally.
Arabi was found guilty in a Tehran Criminal Court in August of 2014 for offending the Prophet.
In Islamic Law, those who insult the Prophet are punishable by death. However, if the individual was quoting someone or speaking in error or in anger, the sentence can be reduced to lashes.
Arabi had a chance to appeal his death sentence, which was then denied and the sentence upheld, just as world powers met with the Iranian regime in Vienna, giving them an extension of six months to come to an agreement on the country’s contested nuclear arms program.
Human rights groups around the world have pointed to Iran’s egregious violation of rights against its citizens.
Critics of the Iran deal here in the U.S., including bi-partisan lawmakers, also point to Iran’s frequent use of capital punishment and excessive imprisonment.
Two American citizens, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Marine Amir Hekmati still remain in Iranian prisons. Their release has not been negotiated as a part of the ongoing nuclear talks.