Iran slaps up to 5-year jail terms on Telegram admins

30 Aug 2017 / 23:14 H.

TEHRAN: A revolutionary court in Iran has sentenced six reformist social media administrators to up to five years in jail, their lawyer told the Ilna news agency on Wednesday.
Ali Mojtahedzadeh said the six group admins on the Telegram messaging app who were free on bail after their arrest in March were sentenced in court, without giving the date of the verdict or the charges.
"According to the verdict by Branch 15 of the revolutionary court, Mr Nima Keshvari and Mr Ahmadnia received five years, Mr Naghdi and Mr Jamshidi four years, and Mr Sobhan Jafari received three years in prison," he said, without giving all their first names.
Mojtahedzadeh told the reformist labour news agency that a sixth defendant, named Bagheri, was not in court for the verdict, apparently a two-year jail term.
The lawyer said he would not be able to file an appeal until he received a copy of the 60-page verdict.
Iran's conservative-dominated judiciary arrested 12 social media admins supporting reformist and moderate President Hassan Rouhani's camp ahead of the country's May election, on security and obscenity charges.
"Some of these people have been arrested on national security charges and some ... for committing crimes against public decency and publishing obscene content," deputy judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie said in April.
Rouhani, a moderate who won re-election, has criticised the arrests but has little power over the judiciary.
Social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are blocked in Iran but users exploit widely available privacy software to access them. — AFP

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