Iran’s Cyber Police has arrested thousands of Iranians during the coronavirus epidemic for exposing the regime’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis.
Two senior officials told state-run TV that criminal charges had been filed against the detainees who had “spread rumors” about the coronavirus epidemic.
Yesterday, the head of the Cyber Police Diagnosis and Prevention Center told state-run TV that the detainees had said the regime was covering up the number of deaths from the virus.
“Before COVID-19 even entered the country and before it was officially announced, we had numerous reports and rumors from videos that showed coronavirus patients hospitalized or patients that had collapsed on the street,” Colonel Mohammad Ali Rajabi said.
The Cyber police official said that people had started criticizing the regime for not closing its borders with other countries and not implementing quarantine, adding that there were efforts to “cause despair among the people”.
“For example, they wanted to make it seem as though the (state) was not transparent in this regard and that the people were not given the truth,” he told state-run TV.
“At the same time, they tried to imply that the government was inefficient and that the country’s health and the administrative system could not manage the COVID-19 epidemic,” the Cyber Police official added.
Colonel Mohammad Ali Rajab said that the Cyber Police had identified more than 2,000 websites and social media channels that had shed light on the regime’s shortcomings.
“We have introduced 370 cases to the judiciary, and these include arrests, summonses, and pledges,” he added.
An IRGC commander also told state-run TV that 3,600 citizens were arrested for “spreading rumors” about the COVID-19 crisis.
General Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesperson for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran thanked the Cyber Police for countering “rumors”.
“As for the actions taken to confront those who spread rumors, the Cyber Police have done a great job,” he told state-run TV on April 28.
“3,600 people who spread rumors on social media were arrested by the police and the (Paramilitary) Basij forces, and 1,136 lawsuits have been filed against them,” he added.
Today, Iran’s Ministry of Health announced the death toll from COVID-19 as 6,028.
But an opposition group that accuses the regime of covering up death toll figures said that 37,600 people had died in 308 cities across Iran.
The National Council of Resistance says its death toll figures have been gathered by reliable sources inside the country.