He is a father of a young girl and is a photography graduate. Towards the end of 2013, Mr. Arabi was arrested by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). He was thrown into solitary confinement and was subject to torture.
His crime was to publish photos of the 2009 uprising in Iran. He also published the cartoon of Supreme Leader Khamenei. He was sentenced for “apostasy”, “blasphemy against Prophet and insulting the sanctity” and “propaganda against the state”. He was first sentenced to execution which then became a seven and a half year prison sentence.
Mr. Arabi was also handed a three year prison sentence and thirty lashes for insulting leaders of the Iranian regime.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reported that Mr. Arabi, to avoid the death sentence, has been told to show that he regrets his actions and has to spend two years reading over a dozen volumes of the mullahs’ ridiculous and irrational books about religion. He was also told that he would have to write a summary of what he read.
This is an absolutely absurd ruling and it is shocking that the execution sentence will only be removed if he proves that he regrets his actions and if the authorities deem that his behaviour has changed.
Amnesty International have demanded the immediate release of Mr. Arabi and have urged authorities to give him access to essential medical care.
A few days into his dry hunger strike, the prisoner recorded himself and explained that the authorities are ignoring his legal demands. He said that he has extremely low blood pressure and added that he has stomach bleeding.
Despite the huge amount of pressure he is under and his desperate situation, Mr. Arabi urged people to “never allow a person to torture you because of holding different beliefs”.
He added that he has spent a lot of time hoping that the interrogators and judges will have good conscience, although he admitted that it is clear they do not, because if they did he would have been released from prison a long time ago and real criminals would have been locked up instead.
Like many of the people in Iran, despite the oppression that aims to keep them down, Mr. Arabi said he is hopeful the rulers of the country will one day be overthrown. He said: “I cannot tolerate all this cruelty. I am tired of fighting alone. Nobody helps me. I will die one day. I am sure that the oppressors will be defeated. You will believe that my imprisonment was unfair. I am in a cage and cannot work, therefore, I am dead. A day comes that the judges and interrogators will be tried and our country is no longer in the hands of hypocrites.”