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Iranians charged with apostasy

Public Statement by Amnesty International

Mahmoud Matin and Arash Basirat have been formally charged with apostasy, which on conviction can carry the death sentence. Their lawyer was initially informed of their charge in early August. They are prisoners of conscience, held solely for their religious beliefs.

Mahmoud Matin and Arash Basirat were arrested on 15 May 2008 by Ministry of Intelligence officials in Shiraz, south-west Iran, where they were having a meeting with 13 other people, who were also interrogated but released. They are both being held in a detention centre in Shiraz that is controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence. They were in solitary confinement for two months before being placed in a cell together around 15 July.

Both Mahmoud Matin’s and Arash Basirat’s families have tried to secure their release on bail before their trial takes place but this was refused by the authorities. Mahmoud Matin has been able to see his wife on short visits. ¬†Arash Basirat is diabetic and has become very weak and his medical condition has deteriorated.

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