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January 5, 2018updated 08 Jan 2018 10:55am

Iranian state news agency uses Twitter to identify pro-democracy protesters putting them at risk of ‘torture or worse’

By Thomas Kavanagh

An Iranian state news agency, Tasnim, has used its verified Twitter account to identify protesters from the recent unrest in the country.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, the agency posted pictures from the marches and asked followers to contact them with information. They circled the faces of people to identify them.

The tweets roughly translate to “Recognise the images of protesters?” and go on to list the locations and times at which the pictures were taken.

Followers were quick to respond. One account said: “Know the people and publish them everywhere. Send us photos and criminals’ details,” followed by a link to another Twitter handle. Other accounts labelled the people featured as “traitors” and “mercenaries”.

Protesters have responded in kind.

The account @rasuyab has posted several pictures of people they believe to be regime guards. Their pinned tweet says: “The purpose of this channel is the disclosure of mercenaries that have a direct role in suppressing the people and creating a climate of intimidation and oppression.”

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Former Wall Street Journal writer Sohrab Amari asked Twitter moderators to address the issue – warning that those identified on the platform would be likely to face “torture or worse”.

The platform has been barred in Iran following widespread unrest, but some users still have access and Iranian media is not subject to the ban on the general public.

At the time of publishing, Twitter has not removed the tweets of the Tasmin News Agency account.

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