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Source: RFE/RL

Aug 10, 2023

Iran's Judiciary Says Satirist Missing Nearly Two Weeks Released On Bail

Iran's judiciary has announced the release on bail of Shaker Buri more than a week after the Instagram satirist and humorist went missing after visiting an intelligence office of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in the southwestern city of Abadan.

His disappearance and custody comes amid an ongoing crackdown on celebrities and sports and cultural figures angered by the death of a young female student nearly a year ago after she was detained for allegedly flouting the clerically ruled country's strict dress code.

A news agency affiliated with the judiciary quoted Abadan's prosecutor, Ruhollah Zandi, as saying Buri was freed earlier on August 10 "after the completion of the investigation."

Zandi described the accusations against Buri as "committing crimes against security" of the clerically run state.

There was no word on the amount of bail set for Buri or how the investigation was expected to proceed.

Buri has more than 1 million Instagram followers attracted by his humorous videos critiquing government officials and perceived missteps.

He was detained on July 31 after reportedly visiting the IRGC intelligence office in Abadan to retrieve a mobile phone that had been confiscated during a raid on his home by plainclothes officers.

Family members and human rights activists this week expressed alarm at eight days of official silence and eyewitness accounts saying he had been seen at the intelligence office in Abadan.

Iranian authorities including the revolutionary court system routinely fail to inform family or the public of suspect detentions -- or even convictions and sometimes punishments -- for days or weeks after they occur.

Unverified social-media accounts have claimed that the intelligence office advised the satirist's family to notify the police and formally declare him missing.

Since the death in September 2022 of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody after allegedly breaking the hijab law, Iranians have publicly protested at a lack of rights, especially for women and girls.

The result has been an unprecedented show of support in what many regard as one of the biggest threats to the Iranian regime since it came to power after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Rights groups say the resulting crackdown has killed more than 500 people, including 71 children, and resulted in many thousands of arrests.

Officials have blamed the West for inciting the protests and vowed to crack down even harder on protesters.

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