A 21-year-old Iranian man has been sentenced to death for insulting Islam and the Quran on the smartphone messaging app, LINE.
Sina Dehghan, who was 19 at the time of his arrest, allegedly "insulted the prophet" of Islam, which is punishable by death, according to Iran's Islamic Penal Code. The penal code also says that if the suspect tells the courts that the insults were said out of anger or by mistake, the sentence can be downgraded to a punishment of 74 lashings instead.
A human rights activist group, Center for Human Rights in Iran, came forward this week with accusations that Dehghan was tricked into signing a confession, which he later admitted he signed so he would be freed.
"During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and repented, he would be pardoned and let go,” a source told CHRI, according to their news release. “Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to death.”
The news release also said that Dehghan's family kept quiet about the case because they were also promised Dehghan would be freed.
"Security and judicial authorities promised Sina’s family that if they didn’t make any noise about his case, he would have a better chance of being freed, and that talking about it to the media would work against him,” the source told CHRI. “Unfortunately, the family believed those words and stopped sharing information about his case and discouraged others from sharing it as well.”
At the time of Dehghan's arrest in 2015, he was serving as a military barracks guard with four more days left of service. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested him and took him to Arak Prison, where he has been imprisoned since.
Dehghan was sentenced to death last year. An appeals court has upheld the ruling, and Dehghan is awaiting final ruling from Iran's Supreme Court.