Milad Hatemi, a famous Instagram influencer from Iran, has been indicted for "corruption of earth." Such a charge carries the death penalty in the country. He was allegedly running an online gambling operation.
Among dozens of other similar influencers, Hatemi is known for posting on his Instagram profile about his glamorous life. He urged his four million followers that the same can be achieved by earning easy money by betting and gambling. His profile has numerous posts on exotic cars and other such luxuries enticing many to gamble their money.
Hatemi had been living in Turkey with his wife and children while running the gambling operations for the past few years.
Iranian Instagram influencer Milad Hatemi faces the death penalty. Clearly, authorities are making an example out of him.
Hatemi is one of many influencers living abroad who are advertising gambling websites to Iranians and profiting from them. https://t.co/vawCvopAJj pic.twitter.com/yKcl67NN4l
— Holly Dagres (@hdagres) July 15, 2022
The Islamic Republic of Iran had accused him of making illegal profits by defrauding users on his gambling platforms. He was also alleged to have laundered money to foreign nations.
Hatami was arrested in Turkey after Interpol sent a red notice. He was deported back to Iran last March.
The Iranian judiciary's media center released a statement on Thursday accusing Hatemi of "corruption on earth through widespread abuse and disruption of the country's monetary and currency system, amounting at a minimum to more than half a million [US] dollars ($550,290), laundering the same amount, opening a gambling platform, and encouraging corruption."
Hatemi had apparently confessed to his crimes in a TV show aired on the state channel. It is reported that his confession was forced.
The charge of Mofsed-e-Filarz, i.e., "spreading corruption of earth," is not appropriately defined in the Islamic Penal Code that the country follows. This charge is generally used for convicting people as a broadly defined crime capable of encompassing anything undesirable by the state, such as operating brothels, selling alcohol, spreading rumors, widespread moral corruption, etc. There's also no fixed penalty for this charge, which ranges from a few years in prison to capital punishment.
The Branch 15 of Tehran's General and Revolutionary Court was referred for this case.
Hatemi is amongst nine other famous influencers accused by the Islamic Republic of running similar gambling sites.
Rapper Amir Tataloo was accused and arrested in Turkey in 2020 for a similar offense. He was accused of "encouraging citizens, especially the youth, to use drugs."
He was supposed to be deported back to Iran, but there has been no update on the case.
Tataloo became famous for criticizing the Iranian government for abusing the rights of its citizens in his songs.
Tataloo's social media manager, Ronak, said, "If Amir is handed over to Iranian police, it is unclear what is going to happen,"