IRAN: DEATH SENTENCE COMMUTED TO TWO YEARS' THEOLOGY STUDY
September 30, 2015: An Iranian man who was on death row for allegedly insulting the prophet Muhammad has had his sentence commuted to reading 13 religious books and studying theology for two years.
Soheil Arabi, 31, was arrested by members of the Iranian revolutionary guards in November 2013 in connection with Facebook postings which the Iranian judiciary deemed insulting to the founder of Islam. He was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.
A higher court annulled his death penalty, and his new sentence, which includes a 90-day jail term, emerged this week. Arabi will not be coming out of prison time any time soon, as he is also serving a separate seven-and-a-half-year sentence for allegedly insulting the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, alongside similar charges.
The commuting of Arabiās death sentence is the first such decision to have been taken by a judiciary court in Iran.
The state-owned Jamejam newspaper said Arabi was required to prepare a five-10-page summary of each of the 13 religious books he must read. He then has to write an article about religion and reference at least five -10 of those books. He should study theology for two years and report to the authorities every three months on his progress. (Sources: theguardian.com, 30/10/2015)