July 5, 2015- Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez has endorsed the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran Ahmed Shaheed’s call on Iranian authorities to immediately commute the death sentence recently handed down to Mohammad Ali Tehari, a well-known author of alternative medical theories practiced in Iran and abroad, and founder of an arts and culture institute in Tehran.
Mr. Taheri was reportedly sentenced to death on 1 August on charges of ‘Fisad-fil-Arz’ (‘Corruption on Earth’), while he was already serving a five year prison sentence from May 2011 for insulting Islamic sanctities.
“It is unacceptable and a clear violation of international law for an individual to be imprisoned and condemned to death for peacefully exercising his rights to freedoms of religion and of expression,” the Special Rapporteur Mr. Shaheed stressed. “Mr. Taheri has been handed a death sentence for his spiritual beliefs and teachings.”
The Special Rapporteur on the State of Human Rights in Iran reminded that the UN opposes the use of death penalty in all circumstances and recalled that Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which protect freedom of religion and belief, and allow the death penalty (if still practiced) only in cases involving an intentional killing.
Special Rapporteur Shaheed has declared that “Mr. Taheri’s actions were peaceful and constitute protected activities under international human rights law.”