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Australians call for action on imminent execution in Iran

Australians call for action on imminent execution in Iran

Mohammad Ali Taheri is a religious thinker in Iran who was sentenced to death on August 1, 2015, for “spreading corruption on earth” through his spiritual beliefs and teachings.

“Under international law, the death sentence may only be invoked for ‘the most serious crimes’ involving intentional killing, so clearly Mr Taheri is really facing state murder for his beliefs. Australian Supporters of Democracy in Iran calls on the Iranian government to put a stop to this abuse, and to release Mr Taheri who has already suffered years in prison and lashing for the same non-offence”, said spokesperson Peter Murphy in Sydney.

“Mohammad Ali Taheri is clearly a prisoner of conscience, punished for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of belief, expression and association. We fully support the campaign by Amnesty International on his behalf.

“Pending his release, Mr Taheri should be taken out of solitary confinement. His prolonged solitary confinement in Evin Prison is a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment.

“We call on the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, and on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to put these demands on the Iranian government,” said Mr Murphy.

Mohammad Ali Taheri has undertaken 12 hunger strikes and attempted suicide four times in protest at his prolonged solitary confinement, lack of access to his family and lawyer and repeated threats to kill him and his wife and children. After Mohammad Ali Taheri’s 12th hunger strike, from December 6-26, 2014, the authorities granted him access to a lawyer of his own choosing. He has since been allowed access to his lawyer and weekly meetings with his wife.

Mohammad Ali Taheri introduced the spiritual doctrine of Erfan-e Halgheh after 13 years of receiving what he claims were “spiritual inspirations” that empowered him to connect with a larger “Cosmic Consciousness”. He lawfully opened a cultural and educational institute, also called Erfan-e Halgheh, in Tehran in 2006 to develop and disseminate his newly found spiritual beliefs, and practice them with his followers, in “healing sessions” apparently focused on alternative non-medicinal treatments. The three offices of the institute in Tehran were shut down in August 2010: Mohammad Ali Taheri had been arrested on 18 April 2010 and detained for over two months. According to the state-sponsored Fars News Agency, at least 30 Erfan-e Halgheh teachers have received prison sentences ranging from one to five years for “insulting Islamic sanctities”.

ENDS

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