Tuesday 21st Jan 2020 

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News: Iranian society

22 Facebook users arrested in Iran's latest Internet crackdown

NCRI - Iran's security forces have arrested 22 Facebook users as part of the regime's ongoing crackdown on social networking sites.

They are the latest among scores of Internet users who have been arrested in Iran this year.

Colonel Shaaban Torknia said of the recent arrests: “With coordination with the judicial authorities, we will deal with individuals who are in contact with foreign networks."

In July, eight Facebook users were sentenced to a combined 127 years in prison for propaganda, insults against state officials and acting against national security. Two of them were sentenced to 50 lashes plus long jail terms.

At the end of May, eight people received a combined 123 years in jail for insulting the country's supreme leader on Facebook.

In late September, eleven people were arrested in Iran for posting 'jokes' about the regime's founder Ruhollah Khomenei on social networking sites.

The Iranian regime's Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Esmaeel Mohebipour said the individuals had published comments insulting Khomeini on WhatsApp, Viber, Tango and Telegram.

Mohebipour said the detainees had 'confessed to their wrong-doings', adding: "They have become the stooges of the intelligence services."

Last month, Iran’s Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei issued a one-month ultimatum for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to ban the applications WhatsApp, Viber and Tango.

Mohseni Ejei said the offensive comments under the guise of jokes about Khomeini had been widely circulated on the Viber, Tango and WhatsApp networks.

Some of the jokes about Khomeini reflect common criticisms of him and the regime's policies and hollow promises, including his pledge to provide free water and electricity.

One joke said 'Khomeini comes home and sees bills for water, electricity, and gas on the ground. He asks, 'Weren’t these free?’

The joke concludes: “Forgetfulness was one of Imam’s weaknesses.”

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