On the evening of May 9, a blue truck adorned with yellow flowers and a picture of 37-year-old Sadrullah Fazeli Zare entered Sharafabad cemetery in the south-western Iranian city of Yasouj.
A short video shared online showed a large crowd followed the vehicle amid the sound of screams.
A woman dressed in black danced by the dead body, waving red handkerchiefs, while mournful music reverberated through the air -- a common practice among members of the Lor ethnic group.
A source close to the Fazeli Zare family told IranWire that the funeral was held in the presence of security agents who did not allow any photos or videos to be taken.
The previous day, Fazeli Zare and another man, Yousef Khoob Imche, also known as Yousef Mehrdad, were executed in Arak Prison for blasphemy, according to the judiciary, which accused the duo of burning a Quran and insulting Prophet Muhammad's mother.
The source told IranWire that Fazeli Zare was born in Yasouj into a deprived and large family. He had 10 brothers and sisters.
Fazeli Zare was considered a skilled cabinet maker. But above all he took care of his ailing and grieving mother.
"One of Sadrullah's brothers was living in Isfahan and was involved in a car accident that left him severely injured and paralyzed. He passed away last year on the night of his daughter's wedding," the source said.
Why Was Fazeli Zare Arrested?
Mizan Online, which is affiliated with the judiciary, said that Fazli Zare was accused of collaborating with Mehrdad.
After Mehrdad was arrested in April 2020, investigators found that Fazli Zare closely cooperated with the suspect in running dozens of online platforms dedicated to the hatred of Islam and the promotion of atheism, the report said.
Human rights activists said the duo was involved in producing content that criticized "religious superstitions."
"Sadrullah was not media-savvy enough to manage 20 channels or Telegram groups, nor did he possess the technical know-how to use social media with a foreign number," the source said.
"Sadrullah was against superstition and refused to blindly accept things that had been repeated for thousands of years. He was a seeker of truth, constantly questioning and searching for answers."
The source added that Fazli Zare refused to write a letter of repentance and apologize for his actions.
Who Was Mehrdad?
Mehrdad was a resident of Ardabil. He had two sons and a young daughter.
An informed source told IranWire that he was arrested in Ardabil on May 24, 2020, and transferred to Arak Prison, where he was kept in solitary confinement for two months. He was denied any contact with his family for a total of eight months.
The judicial system of the Islamic Republic claims that Mehrdad "insulted holy things" and "burned" a copy of the Quran.
Dadban, a group that provides legal advice to detained protesters in Iran, quoted a source as saying that "the family had no knowledge of the execution of the sentence for Yousef until the evening of the previous day."
IranWire's source said that "judicial authorities promised the family on May 7 that the execution of the death sentence had been completely stopped" and that Mehrdad would be granted amnesty.
The judiciary claimed that Mehrdad "was the main administrator and director of at least 15 anti-religious groups and channels, and was widely active in promoting atheism, insulting holy things and anti-Islamism."
Evidence used in the case included a video found on Mehrdad's phone that allegedly showed the burning of a Quran, it said.
The other defendants in the Case
In addition to Fazli Zare and Mehrdad, nine other people have been arrested on charges of insulting holy things.
Four of the accused have been identified as Samira Rezaei, a resident of Mashhad; Kobra Imani, a resident of Tehran; Farhad (surname unknown), a resident of Rasht; and Mohammad Amin (surname unknown).
The five other defendants, who have been released on bail, were accused of publishing content or expressing ideas and opinions that the court deemed to be insulting to the sacred.
The Islamic Republic's Killing Machine
According to Article 262 of the Islamic Penal Code, any "prophet insulter" can be sentenced to death. Insulting Shia imams and the daughter of Prophet Muhammad is also considered blasphemy and punishable by death.
Mahmoud Amiri Moghadam, director of the Norway-based Iran Human Rights Organization , said the authorities of the Islamic Republic "once again demonstrated their medieval nature by killing two people for expressing their opinion."
He emphasized that the Islamic Republic executes a growing number of Iranians to intimidate the population and prolong its survival.
According to the Iran Human Rights Organization, the authorities executed 66 convicts in the last 16 days and 218 since the beginning of this year.