Twenty-Year Old On Death Row After “Confessing” on Promise of Freedom
Death Sentence for Posting “Anti-Islamic” Content on Social Media
Sina Dehghan was just 19-years-old when the Revolutionary Guards told him, while they were interrogating him, that if he confessed to the charge of “insulting” the Prophet Mohammad and signed a letter of repentance, he would be set free. Now he’s on death row while being represented by an appointed public defender and his only hope is an acquittal by Iran’s highest court.
“Sina was like an innocent child. He agreed to confess to everything they wanted and accepted all the charges. But then they sentenced him to death,” an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “The case was sent to the Supreme Court three months ago and now his family’s only hope is an acquittal.”
“Last year, when Sina was 19 and serving in the military, for three days he started a campaign on the LINE social network and apparently some things were posted against Islam and the Quran,” added the source. “But after he was arrested, he said he had made a mistake and repented. Everybody in the world makes mistakes. He did something wrong, but he was only 19. There’s a limit to punishment. A mistake does not deserve the death sentence.”
Now 20 years old, Dehghan was arrested on October 21, 2015 at a military barracks in Tehran, where he lives, by the Revolutionary Guards and sentenced to death for “insulting the Prophet” and 16 months in prison for “insulting the supreme leader” by Branch 1 of the Criminal Court in Arak. He and his co-defendants, Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri, were accused of posting anti-Islamic content on social media.
Eliasi’s seven-year prison sentence was reduced to three years on appeal. But the Appeals Court upheld the death sentences against Dehghan and Nouri and now both men are awaiting a final ruling by the Supreme Court.
Held in Arak Central Prison in a ward with dangerous criminals, Dehghan is allowed to contact his family by phone and to receive regular visits, but he is suffering from depression and often cries, according to the source. He is being represented by an appointed public defender because his family cannot afford a private lawyer.