Iranian media reportedly announced the death sentence of writer and illustrator Mehdi Bahman after he was arrested in October for giving an interview to Israeli TV Channel 13 earlier last year and in 2021.
In the April 2022 interview, Bahman criticized the Iranian regime and called for normalization between Iran and Israel. He said that, according to his observations, the Iranian people have no problem with Israel or Jews around the world.
Bahman has a history of working on issues of religious tolerance and made illuminated copies of the Psalms and Ezra, which are held in the United States Library of Congress. More recently, he worked with Iranian dissident and Shia cleric Masoumi Tehrani to create artworks with symbols from various religions.
Neither Iranian state media nor Iranian officials confirmed Bahman’s sentencing, but several Iranian public figures posted the news of his sentencing on social media.
Those reporting the news included Iranian journalist Farzad Seifikaran who, on social media, called Bahman “one of the most honorable people I have known in my life.”
Seifikaran said that Bahman’s charge for “spying” was related to his work regarding religious tolerance. He also shared some of Bahman’s work on his social media page.
Bahman reportedly is being held in Evin Prison, which is famous for housing Iran’s political prisoners since 1972. There were conflicting dates given for his arrest, although all sources agree it happened in mid-October.
According to Human Rights Activists News Agency, HRANA, executions in Iran almost doubled in 2022 due to the political unrest started by the death of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22, while in police custody in September.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.