Images of Iranian Protester Falsely Shared as ‘Suspected Killing of Filipino in Kuwait’

The TikTok and Facebook posts, viewed tens of thousands of times, shared images 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 has been criticized as “unfair” by the United Nations.

“This is the 17-year-old suspect (sic) who killed Jullebee Ranara,” reads the overlay text of a TikTok clip shared on Jan. 27.

Show a picture of a man being tried in court and another picture of what appears to be the same person.

Ranara, a Filipino domestic worker in Kuwait, last spoke to her family on Jan. 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 murder is the 17-year-old son of Ranara’s employers. She did not reveal any further details about the suspect.

“Dad, we have been sentenced. Mine is execution. Please don’t tell mom. She told her dad on the phone,” reads the text below the clip. It has been viewed more than 180,000 times.

Screenshot of fake post taken on February 2, 2023

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

In fact, 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 of people in a crackdown on unprecedented protests sparked by the death in custody of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

Iranian protester

The first photo corresponds to the AFP footage posted here.

It shows the trial of Iranian national Mohammad Mehdi Karami, who was executed on January 7 together with his Iranian colleague Seyed Mohammad Hosseini for killing a member of the Basij paramilitary forces during a protest in the Iranian province of Alborz.

Prosecutors said the militant was stripped naked and killed by a group of mourners who had paid their respects to a slain protester.

The executions of Karami and Hosseini drew international condemnation, with the United Nations human rights office saying they followed “unfair trials based on coerced confessions”.

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

A screenshot comparing the first image in the fake posts (left) and the same man pictured in the AFP footage (right).

Similar pictures and videos of Karami have also been published by news outlets including the BBC and CBC News.

A reverse Google search found that the second image also circulated in reports of the executions of Karami and Hosseini.

BBC Persian published a matching photo here on January 7 along with a caption identifying the man in the photo as Karami.

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

Below is a screenshot comparing the second image in the fake posts (left) to the photo from the BBC’s Persian Service (right):

A screenshot comparing the second image in the fake posts (left) to the photo from the BBC’s Persian Service (right).

AFP has previously debunked false claims of Ranara’s death here.

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