Images of Iranian protester falsely shared as 'suspect in killing of Filipino in Kuwait'

  • In World
  • 2023-02-07 03:01:27Z
  • By AFP

TikTok and Facebook posts viewed tens of thousands of times have shared images that they falsely claim show the suspect in the killing of a Filipino worker in Kuwait in late January. The photos actually show an Iranian protester executed in early January following a trial that was criticised as "unfair" by the United Nations.

"This is the 17 years old Suspect (sic) who killed Jullebee Ranara," claims the text overlay of a TikTok clip shared on January 27.

It shows a photo of a man being tried in court and another image of what appears to be the same person.

Ranara, a Filipino domestic worker in Kuwait, last spoke to her family on January 20 and was found dead two days later in the Gulf nation, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople told Philippine media.

Ople said in a separate interview with CNN Philippines that the suspect in the killing is the 17-year-old son of Ranara's employers. She did not disclose further details about the suspect.

"Dad, they gave us sentences. Mine is execution. Please don't tell mom. He told his father on the phone," text below the clip reads. It has been viewed more than 180,000 times.


Screenshot of the false post taken on February 2, 2023

The images were also shared in Facebook posts alongside a similar false claim here and here.

In reality, they show an Iranian protester who was executed in early January this year, weeks before Ranara's killing.

Since September 2022, Iranian authorities have arrested thousands in a crackdown on unprecedented protests triggered by the death in custody of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

Iranian protester

The first photo corresponds with AFP footage published here.

It shows the trial of Iranian national Mohammad Mehdi Karami, who was executed on January 7 along with fellow Iranian Seyed Mohammad Hosseini for killing a member of the Basij paramilitary force during a protest in Iran's Alborz province.

Prosecutors said the militiaman was stripped naked and killed by a group of mourners who had been paying tribute to a slain protester.

The executions of Karami and Hosseini drew international condemnation, with the UN human rights office saying they followed "unfair trials based on forced confessions".

Below is a screenshot comparison of the first image in the false posts (left) and a corresponding frame from the AFP footage (right):


A screenshot comparison of the first image in the false posts (left) and the same man pictured in AFP footage (right).

Similar images and videos of Karami were also published by news organisations including the BBC and CBC News.

A Google reverse search found the second image has also circulated in reports about Karami and Hosseini's execution.

BBC Persian published a corresponding photo here on January 7 alongside a caption that identifies the man in the photo as Karami.

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) also tweeted the photo on the same day here.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the second image in the false posts (left) and the photo from the BBC Persian report (right):


A screenshot comparison of the second image in the false posts (left) and the photo from the BBC Persian report (right).

AFP has previously debunked false claims surrounding Ranara's death here.


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