Iranian Faces Death Penalty for Watching Satellite TV

Stop Fundamentalism – An Iranian political prisoner, following two years of detention in various solitary prisons, has received a death sentence from a criminal court in Tehran for having watched and contacted an Iranian dissident television program, Simay-e Azadi, says which is a Persian language website with a focus on human rights situation in Iran.

Simay-e Azadi is a program in Farsi language that is broadcast from abroad presenting the views of the Iranian opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK.  Mullahs consider the MEK to be their arch foe enemy.

Gholamreza Khosravi, 47, is said to support the MEK.  He was previously jailed for his political activities during the 80s. 

He had earlier received a much lighter sentence in his hometown but when his case was transferred to a court in Tehran, he received the death sentence.  A review court later turned down the sentence but another court immediately reinstated it.

Khosravi told reporters that he will not ask for a pardon and that his death sentence is illegal and he did not commit any crime to deserve such punishment.

The Iranian people are, more than ever, using externally produced satellite television programs as their main source of information, news and entertainment.  But the mullahs’ regime, on the other hand, considers the free flow of information to be a growing threat to its authoritarian rule.  Along with internet and the new mobile phone technology, satellite TV leaves no room for control of information and censorship the way a dictatorial regime prefers to have.

Iranian police attacks houses and neighborhoods at nights, collecting satellite dishes from atop buildings and apartments.  Those arrested receive harsh punishments.  But this may be the first instance of a death sentence being handed down for charges related to satellite TV.