Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi boasted about the substantial role of the state’s security establishment in the production of local propaganda films and television shows during an interview with the reformist Shargh newspaper on February 15, 2021.
The goal is to use entertainment mediums as a vehicle to “educate the public” and “protect society against espionage,” said Alavi.
In reality, the productions serve as vehicles for state propaganda, portraying the government as a benevolent actor even as it suffocates civil society actors through arbitrary arrests and kangaroo trials to repress dissent and criticism of state policies.
During his interview, Alavi proudly admitted that the drama series “Khaneye Amn” (“Safe House”)–a thriller in which intelligence agents hunt spies and traitors–was produced by the Intelligence Ministry.
It aired through 50 episodes on Channel 1 of the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) organization in the fall of 2020.
IRIB has repeatedly colluded with Iran’s judiciary and security forces, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to smear defendants in politically motivated cases.
It also broadcasts forced confessions by detainees, in clear violation of international provisions on fair trials and the right to due process.
In the episode, an agent asks an informant about Sharmahd’s identity after being shown a real photo of him.
“He leads the [outlawed] Iranian monarchist association,” the informant says. “He engages in a lot of secret activities and works with both the Israeli and American intelligence services.”
Sharmahd is facing those accusations in reality, though no date has been set for his trial.
Like other dual nationals detained in Iran, he has been denied access to counsel and only allowed severely restricted contact with his family.
Yet the state-funded series presents him as a dangerous spy while denying him a chance to defend himself and while blatantly violating his right to privacy.
According to Article 96 of Iran’s Code of Criminal Procedure, “During preliminary investigations, the publication of images or other details by the media or judicial and law enforcement authorities regarding the suspect’s identity is prohibited.”
Article 96 only allows for the photos to be published in cases involving suspects who are on the run and may be found if recognized by members of the public–not relevant in Sharmahd’s case.
Read the complete article at: CHRI
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