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Eight “youths” in Iran were sentenced to an average of almost 16 years in prison for speaking out against their government, state media and Sky News reported Monday.

According to a report in The Independent, the convicted are Facebook page administrators and are expected to appeal their sentences. The state also charged the youths with endangering national security.

Facebook is banned in Iran, but there are workarounds allowing access and President Hasan Rowhani promised while campaigning to lighten up the government’s position on social media.

But, as with all things Iran, every move Rowhani makes toward reform meets resistance from hard-liners who maintain sufficient power and influence.

According to The Independent, “In May, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was ordered to appear in an Iranian court over concerns that Instagram and WhatsApp violate individual privacy.” Both apps are owned by Facebook. What kind of sentence might Facebook’s boyish leader face if the U.S. and Iran had an extradition treaty?

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


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