DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iranian court has re-imposed the death penalty on the founder of a spiritual movement after the first sentence was struck down by the supreme court, the judiciary said on Sunday.
Mohammad Ali Taheri, founder of Erfan Halgheh which calls itself “Interuniversalism” in English, was arrested in 2011 and given five years in prison for “insulting Islamic sanctities”.
He was sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in 2015 for “corruption on earth” but the Supreme Court later quashed the sentence.
“(Taheri‘s) case was sent back to court and tried with the presence of a lawyer and various advisors and the judge has again reached,” Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei was quoted as saying by the news agency ISNA. The sentence can be appealed, he added.
Amnesty International says Taheri is a prisoner of conscience and has condemned Iran’s use of capital punishment “for vaguely worded or overly broad offences, or acts that should not be criminalized at all”.
Tehran dismisses such criticism as part of an effort from the West to heap political pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Robin Pomeroy