Massoud Setayeshi, spokesman of Iran's Judiciary. Nov. 21, 2022

Iran’s Judiciary Says Insulting Religious Sanctities Punishable By Death

Monday, 11/21/2022

Protesters insulting religious sanctities can be condemned to death, Iran’s hardline Judiciary said Monday, citing Islamic law codified by the clerical regime.

Massoud Setayeshi, the spokesman of the Judiciary told the government news website IRNA that according to Iran’s version of Islamic law, article 513, “Those insulting Islamic sanctities or its saints” can be convicted and receive the death penalty. The principle cited is ‘Sab Al-Nabi’ or insulting the Prophet.

Islamic Republic’s Judiciary, controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has already convicted at least six protesters to death and it is not clear if some of them faced charges related to insulting religious sanctities. Political trials of dissidents are held behind closed doors with no transparency.

Setayeshi defended convictions arguing that existing law requires it, which can add fuel to the protesters anger, who demand a secular form of government and reject the precepts of the clerical regime.

The spokesman also argued that insulting the Islamic Republic’s flag and anthem is also punishable. He claimed that in many Western countries laws exist to punish those who desecrate the national flag or reject the national anthem.

Although in some democratic countries such as France desecrating the flag carries a fine, there are independent courts and due process of law for those charged to receive a fair trial, unlike Iran where dissidents cannot choose their own lawyers and both judges and prosecutors take orders from the Judiciary and intelligence organizations.

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