An Iranian twenty-something, #Sina Dehghan, has been sentenced to death after insulting the national religion of Islam online, despite reportedly confessing out of a plea deal that had previously promised him his release. According to reports, a judicial review of the death sentence may possibly be in the works.
What do we know about the case so far?
Dehghan had been nineteen years of age when he was arrested by Iran's revolutionary guard in Tehran in October 2015. He had reportedly insulted the national religion on the Japanese messaging application, "Line," reportedly targeting the prophet Mohammed.
He had reportedly been serving compulsory military service at the time of his arrest, with four days left to finish.
According to Iran's Islamic Penal Code, comments made to insult the prophet Mohammed can be punishable by death. That said, cases where the comments were made by mistake or out of passion can possibly be plead down to lower offenses, with the sentence reduced to 74 lashings.
Reportedly, Dehghan entered a similar agreement that would have spared him the death penalty if he confessed, but that had not been the case, as officials backed out of the agreement after a confession had been made.
What is being done in Dehghan’s defense?
The Center for Human Rights in Iran confirmed Dehghan's death sentence. A source told the organization that Dehghan made a "childish decision" by agreeing to accept the charges. Having been told that if he had confessed and repented that he would recieve a pardon, Dehghan reportedly both signed a confession in writing and confessed while recorded on a camera.
Added to that, the source claimed that his family was told to keep quiet in order to help the chances that he would be freed, which was believed to have been an attempt to prevent the story from being spread.
In addition to the death penalty, Dehghan is expected to spend sixteen months in jail. According to his mother, a legal team confirmed that a judicial review is in the process of being developed and Dehghan has some contact with his family.
Two co-defendants were listed in the case, Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri. Eliasi's sentence had been reduced from a seven-year incarceration to three years by an appeals court, while Nouri was issued a death sentence, although it is unlcear at this time if it was issued as a final ruling.