Eight young Iranians active on Facebook have been sentenced to a total of 127 years in prison by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court which found them guilty of acting against national security, propaganda against the state and insulting Islam and state officials, IRNA news agency reported.
This is a second recent case against Facebook users. The same court had handed down heavy sentences against another group of individuals for their activities on Facebook.
According to IRNA, the individuals, who were managing a number of pages of Facebook, came under the surveillance of “Sarallah”, an intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards in July of 2013 and later arrested and detained by the prosecutor, it added.
The common charges leveled in all eight cases by Judge Moqisseh include gathering and colluding against national security and propaganda against the state. The cases were investigated by branch six of the prosecutor’s office in Evin Prison. They were officially charged in February of 2014 and put on trial on April 14. They were sentenced after a few sessions on April 30.
Two months ago Judge Moqisseh of the same court had sentenced another group of eight young Iranians to a total of 123 years in prison for their activities on Facebook. They were arrested around the end of summer 2013 by the cyber intelligence branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. No information has emerged on the charges against them.
The arrest and sentencing of cyber activists in recent months has taken place with the Revolutionary Guards acting as an arm of the judiciary, carrying out surveillance and arrests.
According to IRNA, the individuals in the latest case were from Yazd, Shiraz, Abadan, Kerman and Tehran.
“Two of them were sentenced to 18 years and 91 days and 19 years and 91 days in prison respectively, with 50 lashes and fines of 1.3 million tomans ($500). Others in this case were sentenced to 21, 14, 20, 8, 11 and 16 years in prison,” IRNA reported.
The cases of these individuals has been sent to the court of appeals but no date has been set for their hearing.