Picture from Missouri falsely claimed to show Imran Khan’s jail cell
The picture is actually from Missouri State Penitentiary
Claim: Sara Taseer tweeted an image of a derelict jail cell claiming it shows the jail cell of former prime minister, Imran Khan.
Fact: The claim is false because the image is from the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, not Pakistan.
A trial court in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, declared Khan guilty in the Toshakhana case and gave him a three-year jail sentence, following which he has been in prison. The former PM has been incarcerated since 5 August 2023.
In a short order cited here (archive), the judge said that the former premier hid “the benefits he accrued from the national exchequer wilfully and intentionally” and “cheated while providing information of gifts he obtained from Toshakhana, which later proved to be false and inaccurate,” during his tenure from 2018 to 2022. Following the court order, Khan was held in custody at Attock jail but was later moved to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
Fact or Fiction?
On 1 October 2023, Sara Taseer – daughter of the late Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer posted an image (archive) on X (formerly Twitter) with the caption, “This is what you call “zameen tang”. This inhumane treatment for the man you has given so much for the name fame betterment for #Pakistan. I’m so ashamed to call myself Pakistani today. I never thought I’d ever feel this way. #ImranFightingForPakistan”
The image shows a dark, derelict jail cell with a heavy metal door, and paint peeling off the walls.
To investigate Taseer’s claim, Soch Fact Check conducted a reverse image search on Google Lens. The results showed the same image posted by Vernie Seidel, a YouTuber who spent 29 years at the Missouri State Penitentiary. The Missouri State Penitentiary was a prison in Jefferson City and operated from 1863 to 2004. It also served as the state of Missouri’s primary maximum security institution. Seidel posted the image on Quora, which dates back to 2021.
Another image of the same cell was posted on 26 July 2017, on a travel blog titled, “Doing Time – Missouri State Penitentiary Tour” by Jeannie Adams.
KRCG TV – a television station licensed to Jefferson City, Missouri featured the image of the same prison cell in a photo gallery published on 10 October 2019. In the image, the cells have bench-like boxes instead of beds, with metal bars on the window. The caption describes it as solitary confinement and death row cell.
An image taken from inside the cell was also posted by a photographer, Sean Flynn on Instagram on 27 May 2022, with the caption, “From inside one of the death row cells. Inmates confined to one of these cells were usually on suicide watch, and only had a cement slab to sleep on. Notice the double doors to access the cell.”
Furthermore, a keyword search on Google turned up similar images of Missouri prison cells on the stock website Alamy.
This is not the first time a false claim has been made about Imran Khan’s time in jail. Soch Fact Check has previously debunked the claim about a doctored image showing Khan sleeping in jail.
Conclusion: The image shared by Sara Taseer does not show Imran Khan’s prison cell in jail. The original image is from Missouri State Penitentiary located in Jefferson City, United States.
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