Iran hangs ‘heretic’
Mohsen Amir-Aslani, arrested nine years ago, was found guilty of ‘heresy’ and insulting the prophet Jonah.
Amir-Aslani was arrested for allegedly providing his own interpretations of the Koran, according to his family, and he was hanged last week for making “innovations in the religion” and “spreading corruption on earth” by, among other things, suggesting that the Jonah story in Koran was “symbolic”.
Iran’s judiciary, which was responsible for the handling of his case, has since denied that Amir-Aslani’s execution was linked to his religious beliefs.
Instead, the authorities allege that he had illicit sexual relationships with a number of people who participated in his psychotherapy sessions, and the type of activities he was involved in did not follow an official interpretation of Islam. It was not clear if Amir-Aslani had official permission to conduct his sessions.
An unnamed source told the New York-based group, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI):
Mohsen held sessions in his own house dedicated to reciting the Koran and interpreting it. He had his own understandings [of the religion] and had published his views in the form of a booklet and made it available to his fans.
According to the source, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence was behind Amir-Aslani’s arrest.
He was initially held for making innovations in Islam and providing his own interpretations of the Koran but later he was accused of insulting prophet Jonah and also faced accusations of having sex outside marriage. They alleged that he had sexual relationships with a group of the people who participated in his classes.
Amir-Aslani’s wife, Leila, told the opposition website Roozonline that she was hoping a high court would strike down his conviction but his sentence was eventually upheld. She told Roozonline that his conviction stemmed from his religious views and no evidence was presented to back up the charges related to his alleged sexual activities.
Meanwhile, we learn that the Iranian authorities have postponed the execution of a woman accused of killing a man who raped her.
Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, above, admitted to stabbing Abdolali Sarbandi once in the back, but had insisted that there was someone else in the house who actually killed him.
Her claim is believed never to have been properly investigated.
Officials said on Monday that Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, had been transferred to a prison west of Tehran to be hanged. But activists claimed on Tuesday that an online campaign had persuaded the state to give her a 10-day reprieve.
The human rights group Amnesty International said she was convicted after a deeply flawed investigation.
Ms Jabbari was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence.
She was placed in solitary confinement for two months, where she reportedly did not have access to a lawyer or her family, and was sentenced to death by a criminal court in Tehran in 2009.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake, BarrieJohn and M A Chohan (Amir Aslani report).