Iranian cyber police arrest 24 over coronavirus rumors
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Iranian cyber police arrest 24 over coronavirus rumors

Official says police ‘monitoring all the news published in the country’s cyberspace’ and stand ready to act against online claims that ‘increase concern in society’ over outbreak

A policeman and pedestrians wear masks to help guard against the coronavirus, in downtown Tehran, Iran, February 23, 2020.(Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)
A policeman and pedestrians wear masks to help guard against the coronavirus, in downtown Tehran, Iran, February 23, 2020.(Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian cyber police have arrested 24 people accused of online rumor-mongering about the spread of the coronavirus in the country, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported on Wednesday.

The Islamic Republic has been battling to control an outbreak of the new coronavirus strain that has claimed 19 lives among 139 infections in the country over the past week.

“Twenty-four people were arrested and handed over to the judiciary and 118 (internet) users were talked to and let go” after receiving warnings, said Vahid Majid, head of the Iranian police force’s cyber unit.

The arrests were carried out after the establishment of a special unit to “combat rumor-mongers regarding the ‘spread of coronavirus in the country,'” he was quoted as saying.

People wear masks to help guard against the Coronavirus on a street in downtown Tehran, Iran, February 23, 2020. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

“The police are monitoring all the news published in the country’s cyberspace.”

Majid said the unit would take action over news, pictures or videos that “contain rumors or fake news meant to disturb the public and increase concern in society.”

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