[JURIST] A judge in the southern Iranian province of Fars on Tuesday ordered [ISNA report; in Persian] Facebook [corporate website] founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in court regarding complaints that his company’s Instagram and Whatsapp applications have violated individuals’ privacy. The Iranian Students’ News Agency [official website] quoted Iranian Internet official Ruhollah Momen-Nasab in saying that, under the court ruling, the “Zionist” entrepreneur or his attorney must appear in court to defend against the accusations. Zuckerberg is unlikely to respond to the summons as no extradition treaty is currently in force between Iran and the US. Momen-Nasab also claimed that the same court ordered the two applications be blocked in Iran.
Iran has faced criticism in recent years for its increasingly restrictive national internet policies that opponents claim are being implemented to silence popular dissent. In April Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh [Freedom Now backgrounder] was summoned to court [JURIST report] after posting a video online voicing support for the country’s “prisoners of conscience.” In January 2012 the daughter of former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [BBC profile] was sentenced [JURIST report] to six months in prison, including a five-year ban on “media or other online activities,” for her support of the opposition candidate during the 2009 Iran elections. In November 2009 the Iranian government established [JURIST report] a new police unit for combating internet crime, which opposition leaders claimed was for the purpose of cracking down on online dissent.