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HRW Calls On Iran To Overturn Death Sentence Over Facebook Posts

Soheil Arabi is pictured with his family in an undated photograph

A rights watchdog has called on Iran’s judiciary to overturn the death sentence against 30-year-old activist Soheil Arabi, who was convicted of “insulting the Prophet Muhammed” on Facebook.

In a December 2 statement, Human Rights Watch said “it is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting.”

Arabi’s death sentence was confirmed by an appeals court last week. He was arrested last year over his Facebook posts.

Arabi, a photographer by origin, had reportedly been active on Facebook under different names.

Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at the New York-based group, said Iran should immediately revise its penal code to remove provisions that criminalize peaceful free expression.

In recent months, a number of Facebook activists have been sentenced to jail in Iran.

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