Iranian journalist, arrested and charged with blasphemy

ISICRC Reports


Journalist Pouyan Khoshhal

Tehran’s prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announced the arrest of Pouyan Khoshhal, journalist who was recently fired from his position at reformist newspaper, Ebtekar, after writing that Imam Hossein died rather than martyred. Khoshhal, 28, was detained on October 24th and charged with blasphemy,  while trying to leave Iran.

Several high ranking mullahs expressed anger on social media over Khoshhal’s article about health risks facing pilgrims visiting Karbala. His Twitter account was also deleted.

One of those demanding action against Khoshhal was Islamist poet Mohammad Mehdi Abdollahi, who tweeted “We call on the honorable Judiciary officials to take immediate action against [Khoshhal] who has a record [of blasphemy].”

He later tweeted the article of the Khomeiniist penal code that states: “Anyone who insults the Islamic sanctities or any of the Imams or [the daughter of Prophet Muhammad] should be executed if the insult constitutes speaking disparagingly of Prophet Muhammad. Otherwise, they should be imprisoned for from one to five years.”

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Kayhan newspaper, closest to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, also attacked Khoshhal, also wrote: “Decisive action against such shameful insults can teach those who sacrifice people’s religious beliefs for their own filthy intentions, a lesson.”

Khoshhal has gotten into trouble for his writing before, having been previously arrested in April 2017.