Political prisoner Soheil Arabi was arrested in 2013 by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in his home in Tehran.
According to his wife, Nastaran Naimi, intelligence agents linked with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested her and her husband at their home in Tehran in November 2013. They soon released her but transferred her husband to a special section of Evin prison that the Revolutionary Guards control, where they kept him in solitary confinement for two months, subjected him to long interrogation sessions, and prevented him from meeting his lawyer, she said.
During interrogation, Soheil Arabi was reportedly forced to confessing his alleged crimes, including “insulting the Prophet [Muhammad]” which, under the Islamic Republic’s penal code is punished by death.
Arabi’s lawyers argued that he had done this while “in poor psychological condition”, and that he was merely “sharing views held by others”, according to Human Rights Watch.
However, Article 263 of the revised Islamic Penal Code stipulates that a person who “insults the Prophet” while intoxicated or by quoting others, among other acts, will be subjected to 74 lashes and not sentenced to death.
Soheil Arabi was sentenced to death in October 2015 for allegedly “insulting the prophet” in comments he posted on Facebook, but upon appeal his sentence was reduced to seven and a half years in prison and two years of religious studies to prove his repentance, as well as a two-year ban from traveling abroad.
He was then transferred to Section 350 of Evin, which is under control of the Iranian judiciary. On August 30, 2014, a five-judge panel of Branch 76 of the Criminal Court of Tehran sentenced Soheil Arabi to death for “insulting the Prophet of Islam” on eight Facebook accounts allegedly belonging to Arabi, Amnesty International said in a statement on November 26, 2014.
On September 4, 2014, Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court also sentenced Arabi to three years in prison on charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propaganda against the state” in his postings on Facebook.
In late September 2015, his sentence was commuted to “reading 13 religious books and studying theology for two years”, the daily Guardian reported on 30 September 2015.
Soheil Arabi was transferred to the the Great Tehran Penitentiary from Evin Prison in Tehran, on January 29, 2018.
He has been sentenced to three more years behind bars, increasing his total term to 10 years, for engaging in peaceful activism inside the Great Tehran Penitentiary.