September 28, 2010

Iran Jails Blogger

WAPO:

TEHRAN, Iran -- An Iranian court sentenced the founder of one of the first Farsi-language blogs, credited with sparking the boom in Iranian reform bloggers, to more than 19 years in prison for his writings, a news web site reported Tuesday.

Iranian-Canadian Hossein Derakhshan, 35, was a controversial figure among Iran's blogging community. Writing his blog from Canada, he was initially a critic of Iran's clerical leadership, and in 2006 he visited Israel - Iran's archenemy - saying he wanted to act as a bridge between the two countries' peoples.

But he later became a vocal supporter of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, praising him for standing up to the West and criticizing regime opponents. Derakhshan then visited Iran in 2008 and was arrested. Over the next two years, he was often held without communication with family or lawyers, according to rights groups.

Mashreghnews.ir, which is close to Iran's presidential office, reported on Tuesday that Derakhshan was convicted on charges of cooperation with hostile countries - a reference to the Israel visit - spreading propaganda against the ruling establishment, promotion of counterrevolutionary groups and insulting Islamic thought and religious figures.

The Islamic thought police are alive and well in Iran.

Hat Tip: Jeff.

By Howie at 10:59 AM | Comments |