Mohammad-Taghi Akbarnejad

Cleric Arrested In Iran's Holy City For Criticizing Supreme Leader

Sunday, 02/18/2024

A seminary teacher was arrested by IRGC intelligence officers on Saturday in the religious city of Qom for voicing criticism of the government and the country's Supreme Leader.

Last week, on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Mohammad-Taghi Akbarnejad said, "This day symbolizes the negation of freedom and republicanism." He also recalled Ayatollah Khamenei's pre-revolution promise of granting people the freedom to criticize leaders.

He has been summoned and interrogated multiple times by security forces and the special clerical court in Qom, notorious for his fearless criticism of the country's Supreme Leader. However, judicial or security sources have yet to confirm or deny the latest development.

Social media images, including those on Akbarnejad's Instagram account, depict supporters of the Islamic Republic gathering in Qom and demanding action against the critical cleric prior to his latest arrest.

The Islamic Republic's security institutions have a history of dealing with clerics critical of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's policies. These clerics have often faced harsh sentences, including imprisonment and expulsion from the clergy by the special clerical court.

His arrest follows the detainment of Abdolhamid Masoumi Tehrani, a critical cleric from Tehran, in October 2022, where some of his personal belongings were confiscated. Similarly, in 2018, Hassan Aghamiri, an active cleric on social media, received a two-year suspended sentence and permanent expulsion from the clergy by Branch 2 of the Special Clerical Court.

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