Iranian whistleblower jailed for false information

An Iranian whistleblower who published incriminating revelations about the parliament speaker’s family in April has been sentenced to two years in prison for publishing false information, Iranian media reported Wednesday.

In April, Wahid Ashtari tweeted that the family of conservative speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf was buying baby products from abroad as millions of Iranians struggle to survive in the face of Western economic sanctions.

After photos surfaced of Ghalibaf’s wife, daughter and son-in-law returning from Turkey with suitcases full of clothes for his future grandson, the #LayetteGate hashtag went viral on social media.

Many users shared a 2017 video in which Ghalibaf called for censorship of officials who shop abroad rather than support local products.

Ghalibaf reportedly responded that he opposed his family’s trip, but alleged critics were “telling shopping stories” in an attempt to discredit Parliament.

Iranian media reported that Ashtari was sentenced to two years in prison for “publishing false information aimed at causing public harm.”

But judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi insisted that neither Ashtari’s latest verdict nor previous ones had anything to do with his statements about the Speaker of Parliament.

“The accused has faced numerous similar prosecutions in courts, most of which ended in injunctions,” the court said in an earlier statement in April.