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No, man about to be executed not hacker Bendelladj, arrested in US

A graphic showing two photos of a smiling man with a rope around his neck, apparently about to be hanged, was shared on Facebook on 4 February 2020.

The text reads: “This is Hamza Bendelladj. Hacked 217 banks and made 4000 million USD. Donated everything to Africa and Palestine, he was executed with a smile.”

Hamza Bendelladj is an Algerian hacker who was arrested for computer crimes in the US in 2013.

But is the man in the graphic really Bendelladj? And was he executed? We checked.

Man in photo not Bendelladj

A Google search of the photos led us to a 2 August 2007 Reuters article headlined: “Iran hangs judge's killers in public.” 

According to Reuters, the man in the photos is Majid Kavousifar. He was found guilty of murdering a judge in Iran’s capital, Tehran, and sentenced to death by hanging. His nephew Hosein Kavousifar was executed for the same crime. 

Another photo of Kavousifar, about to be hanged, can be seen in a BBC article from 2 August 2007.

The man in the Facebook graphic is not the hacker Bendelladj. And a photo of Kavousifar has been used in another false claim.

Death sentence rumours

According to news organisation Al Jazeera, a US court sentenced Bendelladj to 15 years in prison in 2016 for using a “computer virus to steal millions of dollars”. This was also widely reported by other media. 

Al Jazeera also reported that rumours of Bendelladj receiving the death penalty spread after his conviction. But various organisations, including the BBC, confirmed that he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. By all accounts, he is still inside. – Butchie Seroto


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