The Iranian regime arrested a soccer player for criticizing the regime’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in northern Iran, the state-run ILNA News Agency said.
Mohammad Mokhtari, the 36-year-old captain of the Damash soccer team in the northern province of Gilan was arrested on March 11 by the Intelligence Department of the IRGC’s Quds Force in Gilan upon orders of the province’s Prosecutor.
Mokhtari had criticized the regime in an Instagram post for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis and the large number of deaths in northern Iran. He accused the regime of covering up the real number of COVID-19 fatalities.
“In Gilan province alone, over a hundred people die every day from COVID-19,” he wrote on Instagram adding that there was no more room to bury the dead.
“The bodies are stacked on top of each other, and they want to put a few in one grave to save space. Then they falsely announce the number of fatalities in the media which only covers a percent of the actual figures,” Mohammad Mokhtari wrote.
In another post, he attacked Basij forces, the paramilitary arm of the IRGC, tasked with internal suppression of civil liberties and protests.
“Basij brothers! You attacked people during the slightest of protests with your motorcycles and brutally beat and shot them and then ran away. Why are you scared now and don’t exist?! Go and block the entrance to your cities. If you exist, go and do something positive with your stolen motorcycles,” the captain of the Damash soccer team wrote.
He also attacked the clerics in the city of Qom, the epicenter of the outbreak, saying that they left the city with their families as soon as they got word that the religious city had become infected.
ILNA said Mokhtari’s case was currently undergoing “legal procedures”.
In an interview before his arrest, he said that he was “very distraught” and that the conditions in northern Iran had led him to publish the Instagram posts.