Fact check, Trudeau: Iran is not executing 15,000 people
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau falsely claims that Iran has sentenced 15,000 protestors to death before deleting the tweet in which he made the false claim.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau falsely claimed on Tuesday that Iran was sentencing some 15,000 protestors to death on Twitter before deleting the tweet after an onslaught of reports containing the false news came out.
The Prime Minister's post led to a slew of other - nonetheless fake - posts making the same claim and echoing concerns for the Iranian rioters.
However, interestingly enough, the social media campaign did not have any evidence to back it, and despite that, it garnered the attention of thousands, including renowned celebrities such as actresses Sophie Turner and Viola Davis.
"Canada denounces the Iranian regime's barbaric decision to impose the death penalty on nearly 15,000 protestors," Trudeau wrote. "These brave Iranians were fighting for their human rights – and we continue to stand united in support of them, and united against the regime's heinous actions."
The post - now taken down - was widely shared and used by users and advocates alike in the 12 hours it stayed up.
Canada had in late October sanctioned several Iranian individuals and entities in connection to the unrest sowed in the Islamic Republic and Tehran's attempts to quell the riots.
Ottawa sanctioned 10 Iranian individuals, in addition to entities, - an extension of the ongoing acts of Western hostility against the Islamic republic.
The list of 6 individuals sanctioned by the Canadian Foreign Ministry includes Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Seyyed Majid Mirahmadi; Mohammad Karami, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Operational Base in Sistan and Baluchistan Province; Ezzatollah Zarghami, the former head of Iran's Broadcasting Corporation; Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the former head of the Iranian National Security and Foreign Policy Commission; Soghra Khodadadi Taghanaki, the current director of Qarchak Women’s Prison; and Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, the former speaker of the Guardian Council.
More sanctioned entities include Iran's Guardian Council, Assembly of Experts, Expediency Discernment Council, and the Fars News Agency.
Instagram has since tagged the post as "False Information", saying: "Independent fact-checkers say this information has no basis in fact."
The post garnered the attention of various media personalities and journalists, who were quick to criticize the Canadian premier and dismiss his claims.
"Extraordinary lack of basic fact-checking. Iran has not sentenced 15,000 protesters to death, as a number of celebrities and political leaders are saying," said Sune Engel Rasmussen, a Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent said.
Extraordinary lack of basic fact checking. Iran has not sentenced 15,000 protesters to death, as a number of celebrities and political leaders are saying. Here are the facts as we know them: #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/8PvK7slYBd— Sune Engel Rasmussen (@SuneEngel) November 15, 2022
"I don't know the source of the news that 15,000 protesters were sentenced to death, but even Justin Trudeau repeated it," a senior BBC Persian reporter, Siavash Ardalan, said in criticism of Trudeau's decision to echo the false claim.
"Apart from showing how weak the Canadian prime minister's news sources are, it also has a terrible result that the execution of less than 15,000 people will be considered a success by the government," the senior reporter added.
"The post was informed by initial reporting that was incomplete and lacked necessary context. Because of that, it has since been deleted," a Canadian government spokesperson told CNN.
"It was based on reporting of serious concerns raised by international human rights advocates warning of possible future sentences, including the death penalty, imposed on thousands of Iranian protesters who have already been detained by the regime," they added.
It is noteworthy that the rioters committed several atrocious crimes during the mass riots, including arson, rape, and even murder. However, only one person has been officially sentenced to death by the judiciary.
Check out: What is happening in Iran?
The unnamed rioter is facing the death sentence over committing arson after he set fire to a government building. Five others who took to the streets to participate in the riots were sentenced from five to 10 years in prison after they were convicted of colluding to commit a crime against national security and disturbance of public peace and order."
The original riot-turned-demonstrations took place in the aftermath of a young woman's death that the West rushed to capitalize on, claiming that the Iranian police murdered her.
Afterward, the Iranian police published CCTV footage documenting the last moments of the young Iranian girl, Mahsa Amini, at the police station. The Tehran police said the footage proved that the 22-year-old was not subjected to any violence or physical abuse.
The demonstrations were organized in many cities, namely: Tehran, Isfahan, Kashan, Shiraz, Mazandaran, Yasuj, Bandar Abbas, Qom, Qazvin, Gilan, and Bojnord, among others.
The demonstrators then issued a statement denouncing riots, acts of sabotage, and vandalism that hurt the interests of the Iranian people.