An Iranian court has sentenced an Iranian-American businessman and his elderly father to 10 years in prison on charges of cooperating with the United States, Iranian media reported on Tuesday, the latest sign of an intensifying crackdown against Iranians with ties to the West.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in October 2015 detained Siamak Namazi, a businessman in his mid-40s with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, while he was visiting family in Tehran. The IRGC in February arrested his 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, a former Iranian provincial governor and former UNICEF official who also has dual citizenship.
Both men were sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying and cooperating with the U.S. government, said Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, according to the Fars news website, without specifying when exactly the sentences had been handed down.
The U.S. State Department’s deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, said the father and son had been “unjustly detained” in Iran, and called for their immediate release.
Read more at: Reuters
Yesterday a terrorist once again shattered and destroyed lives in Israel. A Palestinian man opened fire on Israeli civilians and police officers with a machine gun as they waited for the train in Jerusalem. Two Israelis were killed — Levana Malihi, a beloved 60-year-old grandmother and retired civil servant, and 1st Sgt. Yosef Kirma, a 29-year-old newlywed and elite police officer who tried to stop the shooter. Five other Israeli civilians were wounded in the attack. Our prayers are with the families of all the victims.
The terrorist, identified as a 39-year-old man from East Jerusalem, was a known violent criminal linked to Hamas with a record of jail time. He had been recently indicted for 15 counts of incitement to violence and seven counts of supporting terror organizations with Facebook posts. In fact, that very morning he was due to report to prison to serve a four-month sentence for previously assaulting a police officer. In the days leading up to the attack, his social media accounts called for rising up against Israel to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Israeli officials investigating the attack point to an increase in Palestinian incitement on social media as a strong motivator for this and other recent attacks. In the past week, Facebook allowed several pro-Hamas pages to be reinstated and active on their site. Over the last year, 42 innocent people have been murdered and over 550 injured in attacks inspired by Palestinian incitement to violence promoted and condoned by the Palestinian Authority’s leadership. Following this deadly attack, the supposedly moderate Fatah party and Hamas praised the terrorist as a heroic martyr.
This outrageous pattern of the Palestinian government leaders officially promoting, praising, and even financially rewarding terrorism with exorbitant pensions and salaries paid for with American tax dollars must come to an end. It is not only a crime against the Jewish people. It is a crime against the Palestinian people to lead them away from peace and towards death. We hope and pray that the Palestinian Authority government will choose to end their incitement and tolerance for terrorism, and instead choose to give their people hope and a future. Until then, we stand with everyone – Israeli and Palestinian – who desires peace.
On the heels of Sunday’s deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem, Israel’s public security minister reiterated his criticism of social media, saying sites such as Facebook are acting as a platform for online incitement.
Visiting the site of the attack where two people were killed and six others injured, Gilad Erdan said that one of the main animating factors behind the wave of Palestinian terror is “the incitement on social media and this is why I am battling against it.”
“It has an impact, it triggers people to go out and murder and carry out terror attacks, and I once again say that Facebook and all other internet companies have a direct responsibility,” the official further added.
The personal Facebook page of Yosef Kirma, an Israeli police officer who was one of the two fatalities from Sunday’s attack, was cited as a case in point, as it saw tributes to the terror victim deteriorate into heated exchanges between Israelis and Palestinians, often including death threats and graphic images of violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday visited a police officer injured in a shootout with a terrorist in Jerusalem the day before, thanking him for “preventing catastrophe.”
The gunman from East Jerusalem killed two people when he opened fire on passersby and those waiting at a light rail stop near Ammunition Hill in the north of the capital on Sunday morning. Levana Malihi, 60, a retired Knesset employee, and police officer First Sergeant Yosef Kirma, 29, were killed in the attack and six others were injured before the gunman was stopped by Kirma’s elite police reconnaissance unit Yasam.
Meeting with the officer on Monday, Netanyahu praised the unit, which he said stopped the terrorist from killing more people.
“This unit is the key to preventing catastrophe, and that’s precisely what happened, you prevented a larger catastrophe,” he said
Read more at The Times of Israel.