We regretfully report that Ahmad Ghabel died on October 22, 2012, while serving his prison sentence.
Ahmad Ghabel, a religious scholar and dissident, reentered jail on July 31, 2011, to begin a 20-month sentence. In addition to being a critic of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Islamic theocracy, Ghabel was known for his progressive theological stance, including the claim that women are not religiously required to cover their necks and heads. He was arrested on September 8, 2010, on charges of acting against the regime and national security and was sentenced to three years of imprisonment, three years of exile from his city of residence and a three-year ban on giving speeches. Sixteen months of the three-year sentence were converted to a $4,000 fine. Ghabel had been imprisoned in Iran twice before: In 2001, he spent 125 days in solitary confinement in Evin Prison after writing an open letter critical of Ayatollah Khamenei, and in 2009, he was arrested and detained for six months without charge before being released on bail.