NCRI - The U.S. State Department has expressed deep concern about a death sentence handed down by the mullahs' regime in Iran to Mohammad Ali Taheri, an Iranian writer and founder of a spiritual movement.

"We are deeply concerned by reports that a Revolutionary Court in Iran has sentenced to death Mohammad Ali Taheri, the Iranian founder of a spiritual movement, on the charge of 'corruption on earth,'" Mark C. Toner, Deputy Department Spokesperson, said in a statement on Friday.

Mohammad Ali Taheri
Mohammad Ali Taheri

"We also are disturbed that a number of the movement’s followers reportedly have been sentenced to prison terms for similarly vague so-called crimes. The ability of citizens to exercise their rights of freedom of religion and expression are fundamental principles of universally-recognized human rights enshrined in international law," he said.

"It is our understanding that Taheri, who has been held in Evin Prison in solitary confinement since his October 2011 conviction on charges of 'insulting Islamic sanctities,' received this sentence in response to his peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. To sentence a citizen to death for exercising these freedoms represents an extreme violation of his rights."

"We call on the Iranian Government to rescind Taheri’s death sentence and accord him full due process and to uphold freedom of expression and belief for its citizens," he added.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday expressed alarm at the imposition of the death penalty on Mr. Taheri.

Mr. Taheri was sentenced to death on Saturday by the regime's court on a charge of "Fesad fel Arz" (corruption on earth).

“Iran’s use of the death penalty has long been problematic, with many executions on drug offences, several executions of people who were below the age of 18 when the crime was committed, as well as other cases where broad, ill-defined charges led to the imposition of capital punishment,” Zeid said.

"Iran has reportedly executed more than 600 individuals so far this year. Last year, at least 753 people were executed in the country," said a statement by the Office of the High Commissioner.

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