A Facebook Page That Iran’s Authorities Don’t ‘Like’
Twenty-five-year-old Yashar Khameneh says that due to his online activities, his father has been jailed and threatened with execution.
“My father has been in jail for the past five weeks, and his only crime is that he is my father,” Khameneh says.
The Persian-language page, called “The Campaign to Remind Shi’ites about Imam Naghi,” satirizes political and religious topics — from the rights of women in Islam, to sanctions against Iran, to Facebook itself — and attributes them to the 10th Imam of the Shi’ites.
Khameneh insists he’s not in charge of the page.
More than 21,000 people have “liked” the it, while others in Iran say they often visit it but refrain from “liking” for fear of being identified. It was being “talked about” by around 4,000 Facebook users on June 28.
The page’s popularity has made it a thorn in the side of Iranian authorities. Hard-liners have condemned the page and called on the government to take action against it. Last year, hard-line blogs posted the names and pictures of several Iranians inside the country who had “liked” the page.
Khameneh says he has written satire for the page under a pen name and also created several YouTube videos to promote it. He believes the page helps “break taboos.”
Khameneh says Iranian authorities have accused his father of sending him money for his “antireligious activities.” He says his father has merely been supporting his studies in Europe.
The pressure, he says, does not stop there. Khameneh claims his father was arrested on May 26 and that security officials told the elder Khameneh that he will remain in jail — or worse — unless the page is shut down.
“Two weeks ago, my father called home [from prison] and said that he is under a lot of pressure,” Khameneh says. “He was apparently in a very bad state. He told [the family], ‘Tell Yashar to provide all the information he has or else I might not remain alive.'”
Khameneh says that based on a request from the authorities holding his father, he sent a video to Iran expressing regret over his actions. When that failed to secure his father’s release, Khameneh says, he decided to publicize the case by issuing an open letter describing the pressure against his family.
- Iranian student says his father ‘abducted’ by Iranian officials (guardian.co.uk)
- Iranian Establishment Makes New Social Media Foray With Imam Site (rferl.org)
- Iranian Rapper Faces Calls For His Execution Over ‘Insulting’ Song (rferl.org)
- Iran’s Penal System: Arrest The Father, Kill The Daughter (eurasiareview.com)
- The Rap Song Iran Will Kill For (thedailybeast.com)
- Reza Pahlavi asks for solidarity with the people in Syria (ireport.cnn.com)
- Iranian rapper in hiding, but defiant after call for his death (undisputedlegal.wordpress.com)
- Iranian rapper earns $100,000 bounty on his head from irate Shi’ites (news.nationalpost.com)