Three teenagers have been arrested for posting “pornographic” material online, making them the latest to fall foul of Iran’s tight laws on "obscenity".
According to Rokna news agency, Ali Mohammadpour, the head of South Khorasan’s cyber police (otherwise known as FATA), announced the arrests on July 6.
"These people were publishing pornographic images and videos, as well as clips on how to use drugs on social media,” he said. "After the investigations, the offenders were identified and, although they are minors, they were summoned to the FATA police in coordination with the judicial authorities to submit statements via their parents."
At the outset of interrogations the three teenagers reportedly denied they had committed any crime, but later confessed after being presented with digital documentary evidence. The police chief said the three defendants had been handed over to the judicial authorities for legal proceedings.
According to the laws of the Islamic Republic, the publication of any pornographic material is a crime. In addition, sending, publishing, distributing, trading, producing, storing or maintaining such material for the purpose of publishing or trading it is a crime.
But Iranian police use a very broad definition of pornography, encompassing any photograph, illustration, sound, or text that depicts nudity, human genitals, sexual intercourse or sexual acts.
Many young people are not aware of Iran’s extremely strict laws on what constitutes illegal content, and so stray into dangerous activity without knowing — often resulting in arrest, court hearings, prosecution and jail terms.
Government agencies are not transparent about how many people are currently held on charges of possessing or distributing “pornographic” or “obscene” materials.