Fact Check: Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani Did NOT Die in London in 2004

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani Did NOT Die in London in 2004 Different Cleric

Did Ali al-Sistani die in London in 2004, and this photo is of his last moments? No, that's not true. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has made many appearances in the media since 2004. The person in the photo is Mohammad Baqer Shirazi in a Tehran hospital, not Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) that was published on TikTok by @user3222805613774 on May 14, 2023, under the title "A leaked photo of al-Sistani from London hospital in 2004 before he died and got replaced." (Translation from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff.)

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-08-22 at 15.34.43.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Aug 22 13:33:49 2023 UTC)

The video was published by some other accounts on Tiktok as well, such as here and here.

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a Twelver Iranian-Iraqi Shia Grand Ayatollah, has made many appearances in the media since 2004, such as during the Pope's visit to Iraq in 2021, where Pope Francis visited Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to deliver the message of peace and coexistence.

Here is a screenshot of a Youtube video of Pope Francis meeting Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in 2021, published by the Arab news channel AlHadath:

Screenshot 2023-08-22 at 15.48.14.png

(Source: Youtube screenshot taken on Tue Aug 22 13:54 2023 UTC)

The photo that has been circulating on TikTok claiming that it is of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani moments before he dies in London hospital in 2004 is actually Mohammad Baqer Shirazi, the Iranian Grand Ayatollah in Tehran hospital, not Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Here are two other photos of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Shirazi while he was hospitalized in a Tehran hospital in 2014, published by the news agency Tasnim News.

Screenshot 2023-08-22 at 16.00.30.pngScreenshot 2023-08-22 at 16.00.39.png

The holy city of Mashhad witnesses the funeral of the late Ayatollah Shirazi, may he rest in peace, Tasnim News wrote.

(Translated from Arabic by Leadstories staff).

  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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