Canada's Trudeau deletes viral tweet about Iran
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has deleted a tweet which endorsed a claim that Iranian authorities had issued death sentences to thousands of protesters.
The removal comes after a number of journalists and human rights campaigners pointed out that the information in the post was untrue, despite being shared by a slew of celebrities, political commentators and government officials.
The post, which went viral on social media over the past couple of days, shows a woman holding an Iranian flag with the text: “Iran sentences 15,000 protesters to death – as a ‘hard lesson’ for all rebels.”
In the tweet, Trudeau stated that Canada denounces the “Iranian regimes’s barbaric decision” to impose the death penalty on the protesters.
A Canadian government spokesperson has explained Trudeau’s decision to delete the message, stating: “the post was informed by initial reporting that was incomplete and lacked necessary context.”
According to the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, over 14,000 people have been detained in the country since protests broke out in September, but this number has not been officially confirmed by Tehran.
The demonstrations were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested for not wearing her hijab properly. She died in police custody, but Iranian authorities insist her death was caused by a pre-existing medical condition.
According to Iranian state news outlets, three people connected to the protests have so far been handed death sentences, while five others have been given prison terms of between five and ten years on national security related charges.
The Norway-based Iran Human Rights NGO has suggested that as many as 326 people have been killed during the riots, but this information has not been verified by Iranian authorities, who have so far refrained from releasing official death tallies from the protests.
Iranian news outlets reported in September that at least 41 people had died in the protests, and last month it was reported that some 50 police officers had been killed in clashes with demonstrators over the past eight weeks.
The EU and UK recently sanctioned a number of Iranian officials over the alleged crackdown on human rights, while Tehran has vowed to introduce “a proportional response” to the “baseless” and “illegal” sanctions. Iran has also accused the West of meddling in the country’s internal affairs by encouraging the protests, and seeking to destabilize the nation as it did in Syria and Libya.