Blogger sentenced in Iran to 19 years
A Canadian-Iranian blogger has been sentenced in Tehran to 19 years in prison after being convicted of creating anti-government propaganda.
Hossein Derakhshan was arrested in Tehran on Nov. 1, 2008.
He was tried on charges of collaborating with enemy states, creating propaganda against the Islamic regime, insulting religious sanctity and creating propaganda for anti-revolutionary groups.
There were fears that Derakhshan could have faced the death penalty, but the conservative website Mashreghnews.ir, which has close ties to the office of Iran's president, said he has been given a prison term.
The website reported that Derakhshan can appeal his sentence.
Derakhshan, 35, is considered the first blogger to help other Iranians post weblogs in the Farsi language.
He moved to Toronto in 2000 from his native Iran after the reformist newspaper he had worked for in Tehran was closed by the authorities. He is now a Canadian citizen.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders slammed the sentence handed down against the blogger.
"Such a long jail term has never before been imposed on a blogger in Iran and is indicative of a desire to make an example out of Derakhshan," the group said.
"He is the victim of political rivalry within the government and the case against him was fabricated. We urge President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to intercede personally in order to obtain his release without delay.