The Iranian regime’s Cyber Police (FATA) in Fars province, southern Iran, have arrested two young Iranians for publishing cartoons of the regime officials, state media reported.
The state-run Jam News website on June 1 reported that the repressive Cyber Police in the city of Fasa in recent days arrested two people, aged 30 and 31, for publishing cartoons of the regime officials in the cyberspace. This site quoted Ali Sheybanian, Fasa’s police chief, as saying, “These two individuals intended to disturb public opinion and sow discord among the population by publishing caricatures of the authorities and offensive texts in cyberspace.” Last week a police commander of the regime in Isfahan, central Iran, announced that the Cyber Police (FATA) had arrested a 15-year-old boy who had aimed to launch a channel in virtual social networks. Jahangir Karimi announced: "After the final investigation, the 15-year-old teenager from Isfahan was identified quickly and summoned to the police." Karimi’s remarks were reported on May 26 by the website of the official state broadcaster IRIB. The Iranian regime’s Cyber Police (FATA) are responsible for monitoring cyber activities. Their most notorious case was that of blogger Sattar Beheshti who was killed under torture while in the regime's custody in November 2012. Last month, the regime’s repressive Cyber Police announced that they had arrested two young webloggers in Rasht and Roudbar, northern Iran, charging them with “computer crimes.” The head of the FATA police in Gilan Province, Colonel Iraj Mohammadkhani, announced the arrests on May 3, adding that "[illegal] production, distribution and access to any data, software or any type of electronic devices are regarded as computer crimes and anyone committing such acts will be sentenced from 91 days to one year of imprisonment, or will have to pay a fine of five million to 20 million Rials (U.S. $166 to $662), or both." As recently as March 2016, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Iran is still one of the world’s five biggest prisons for media personnel and is ranked 173rd out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) last month said: "Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are non-existent in Iran under the mullahs' regime. Not only does the regime severely clamp down on journalists for reporting on subjects considered sensitive by the mullahs, it even goes so far as arresting and torturing to death dissident bloggers such as Sattar Beheshti.” “The regime's draconian measures against news organizations have become more aggressive since Hassan Rouhani took office as President in 2013. Several international human rights organizations have attested to this reality," Mr. Gobadi added. Iran's fundamentalist regime this week announced that it had set a one-year deadline for international social media, in particular Telegram, to hand over data on their Iranian users.
The official state news agency IRNA reported on Sunday that the decision was taken on Saturday, May 28, at a session of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, a committee on the use of cyberspace headed by the mullahs' President Hassan Rouhani that serves as the regime's IT regulator.