Two men were executed in Iran for burning a copy of the Koran and insulting the Prophet Muhammad, according to the Mizan Online agency, linked to the Iranian judicial authority. The defendants, Sadrola Fazeli Zare and Yusef Mehrdad, were convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and propagating atheism, which included burning the Koran. The men were hanged Monday morning.
The Iranian government claims Mehrdad created a popular online group that propagated atheism in Iran, while a video related to the burning of the Quran was found on his phone. On the other hand, Fazeli Zare’s electronic devices contained a popular account promoting atheism and insulting religious values. Mizan reported that one of the defendants confessed in March 2021 that he had posted the insults on social media.
However, several human rights organizations warn that confessions in Iran are often the result of torture. Iran is the country that carries out the second-most executions worldwide, after China, according to several organizations, including Amnesty International. In 2022, the number of people executed in Iran increased by 75% compared to the previous year, reaching a record since 2015 with at least 582 executions, according to Norway-based NGOs Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Ensemble contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM) in France. In 2021, there were 333 executions in the country.
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