Iranian-Canadian Blogger Sentenced To Nearly 20 Years In Jail

This is an update on this story.

From the New York Times:
Updated | 6:29 p.m. An Iranian news Web site reported on Tuesday that Hossein Derakhshan, an influential Iranian-Canadian blogger who was arrested two years ago when he returned from self-imposed exile to live in Iran, was sentenced to nearly two decades in prison by a court in Tehran.

As Cyrus Farivar, an Iranian-American journalist, noted on his blog, Iran’s Mashregh News reported on Tuesday that Mr. Derakhshan sentenced to 19.5 years in jail for “conspiring with hostile governments, spreading propaganda against the Islamic system, spreading propaganda in favor of counterrevolutionary groups, blasphemy, and creating and managing obscene Web sites.”

The pro-government site, which referred to Mr. Derakhshan as a “counter-revolutionary blogger,” added that the the court also banned him from taking part in politics or working in the media for five years and ordered him to forfeit what it called “received funds in the amount of 30,750 Euros, 2,900 U.S. Dollars and 200 British Pounds.”

On its Web site, The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported that a source close to Mr. Derakhshan’s family confirmed the news and added: “Neither the family nor the lawyer knew about the sentence, they read the news online.”

The human rights group said that Mr. Derakhshan’s family was “shocked” by the sentence, although, as noted in a prior Lede post on his trial, the prosecutor in the case had reportedly asked the court for the blogger’s execution.

Mr. Derakhshan was nicknamed Iran’s “Blogfather,” for his role in making it technically possible to blog in Persian and for his inspiring many young Iranians to take up the form.

But, as The Associated Press points out, Mr. Derakhshan “was a controversial figure among Iran’s blogging community.” As Ehsan Norouzi of Deutsche Welle explained recently, Mr. Derakhshan, who started blogging as a critic of Iran’s government during a self-imposed exile in Toronto, Paris and London, had apparently toned down his political rhetoric in the years before he elected to return to Iran in 2008....
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