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Monday, July 11, 2016

Iran: Twelve and a Half Years in Prison for Posting Jokes on Facebook

Islam has no sense of humour and no sense of shame,
and certainly no freedom of speech

Soheil Babadi was arrested in 2012 for writing jokes on Facebook about Shiite Islam & has been in prison since. His appeal remains unheard after a year

The cover picture from the satirical Farsi language Facebook page
   The cover picture from the satirical Farsi language Facebook page "Campaign to Remind Shiites a       about Imam Naghi"

Soheil Babadi, 39, was arrested on May 22, 2012, placed in solitary confinement and tortured, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Babadi had posted 10 jokes on the Facebook page the "Campaign to Remind Shiites About Imam Naghi" in 2011. The page posts satire on political and religious issues focused around the figure of Imam Naghi, the tenth imam or religious leader in Shiite thought.  

Babdi says the post did not use any insulting words,” Babadi said in a letter written from prison. “A year later I was arrested by the IRGC’s [Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps] Intelligence Organization without a warrant and held in Ward 2-A, the IRGC’s exclusive detention center, and beaten and interrogated for 24 hours."

Babadi says the charges against him are as follows:

insulting the Prophet Mohammad

insulting the sacred

assembly and collusion

insulting the supreme leader

propaganda against the state

membership in a group planning to overthrow the state

acting against national security

“I was interrogated while blindfolded in the corner of a room,” he said in the letter. “The agent wanted me to confess to the charges against me, and when I refused he severely beat me. I was constantly under psychological pressure as the agents probed into my personal life and tried to accuse me of sexual relations with friends and relatives, even with my sister-in-law, and even of homosexual relations with one of my friends, Mostafa. But they didn’t succeed and kept me in solitary confinement for 225 days.”

Initially he was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, 74 lashes and two years in exile for "insulting the sacred" and "insulting President Ahmedinejad."

He was later sentenced to an additional seven years imprisonment for "assembly and collusion against national security” and “insulting the supreme leader." He filed an appeal a year ago, but the appeals court has not yet acted on it.