FACT CHECK: Has Iran Sentenced 15,000 Protesters To Death?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Instagram purports Iran sentenced 15,000 protesters to death following demonstrations against the government.


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Verdict: False

Iran has sentenced five protesters to death, not 15,000. Iran’s parliament has called for harsher sentences on protesters, up to and including the death penalty.

Fact Check:

Iran erupted into protests after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested for wearing her headscarf incorrectly, according to France 24. The protests have also appeared at matches in the World Cup in Qatar, AlJazeera reported.

The video, which shows a screenshot of an article headline, claims Iran sentenced thousands of protesters to death as a result of the demonstrations. The headline reads, “Iran Sentences 15,000 protesters to death-as a ‘hard lesson’ for all rebels.”

The claim is incorrect. It is true that about 15,000 protesters have been arrested for participating in the demonstrations, according to the Washington Post. However, only five protesters have been sentenced to death on charges of “enmity against God” in the country, BBC News reported.

Iranian state media has reported that 227 of 290 members of Iran’s parliament have called for harsher penalties for protesters, including the death penalty. Iran’s judiciary is responsible for prosecuting and sentencing individuals, according to BBC News.

Shayan Sardarizadeh, a BBC News reporter who is covering the Iranian protests, stated in a Twitter thread that the claim is “inaccurate.” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show A Recent Protest In Brazil?)

“The Iranian regime has already issued the death penalty to one protester and will almost certainly hand out more. Journalists and rights groups should report each unjust sentence by Iran’s notorious judiciary and hold the regime to account, but we must do so based on facts,” Sardarizadeh said in the thread.

The claim was spread by prominent figures like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and news outlets like Newsweek, according to BBC News. Trudeau later issued a statement noting the claim was incorrect, and Newsweek issued several corrections, Politifact reported.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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