Hoder update September 28, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Hoder update: good news - not death. Bad news - 19 years.

Pioneer Iran blogger sentenced to 19 years prison

(09-28) 07:32 PDT TEHRAN, Iran (AP) --

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.



Read more: SFGate
posted by aberrant to MetaFilter-Related at 9:08 AM (70 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Fucking bastards.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:11 AM on September 28, 2010


As long as he isn't being put to death, he can theoretically be gotten out of prison. Which Canada had better be doing its damndest to do.
posted by orange swan at 9:15 AM on September 28, 2010 [18 favorites]


You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. This power-struggle permeates the training, educating, and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of this community inevitably, must face that ultimate, internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic. - Paul Maud'Dib

I still hold out hope that he will live to see the old regime thrown down.
posted by Babblesort at 9:18 AM on September 28, 2010


Based on the US woman hiker being let go for $500,000 "bail", I would say that this is just the very beginning of a negotiation on price and time which is a whole heck of a lot better than the alternative.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:18 AM on September 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


Just came to post this. And yes, agreeing with orange swan.
posted by cashman at 9:24 AM on September 28, 2010


It still blows my mind that there are places where people can face incarceration or death for their words.
posted by reductiondesign at 9:28 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Based on the US woman hiker being let go for $500,000 "bail", I would say that this is just the very beginning of a negotiation on price and time which is a whole heck of a lot better than the alternative.

I'm no expert on these matters, but I think that Sarah Shroud's case is very different from Hoder's. She's a US citizen with no ties to Iran other than bumbling across an open border. Hoder is an Iranian citizen, and Iran generally doesn't recognize dual citizenship so his Canadian passport isn't admissible in their system. It sucks, but Hoder is going to be looking at doing some hard time. Continued pressure on this can be a huge assist, and hopefully the sentence will be drastically slashed. But, there's not going to be a "bail" here.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:29 AM on September 28, 2010


As much as this sucks, I'm so relieved to hear it's NOT DEATH that I'm not really fully absorbing the suck part so much. Really trying to focus on the NOT DEATH! part.

Which, y'know, is good for perspective in general, but especially in this case where death was actually an option.

If there's anything we can do to help with his legal efforts to, y'know, not be in prison - keep us updated.
posted by sonika at 9:35 AM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


What are the conditions like in Iranian prisons? I'd hope they'd be at least nominally humane... the Iranian authorities may be repressive, but at least they're not, say, Syria.

Also, there's always the slim hope that the country could see a more open government in the coming years, which could effect the release of political prisoners. He doesn't necessarily have to serve his whole sentence.

I hope he knows how many people out here worry about him.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:36 AM on September 28, 2010


What are the conditions like in Iranian prisons? I'd hope they'd be at least nominally humane... the Iranian authorities may be repressive, but at least they're not, say, Syria.
posted by Rhaomi


Something else I read said that his mother gets to see him weekly now (but I think it was 3+ months before that happened?). So at least there's that.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:00 AM on September 28, 2010


This is happy news.
posted by chmmr at 10:00 AM on September 28, 2010


I am relieved. And I hope various groups, including Reporters without Borders and the Canadian government, continue to agitate on his behalf.

It seems in someways almost unfair to agitate loudly for the release of one person, when considerably more than one person is unjustly imprisoned in the world, but nothing changes until it changes one person at a time. Or something much more pithy than I can say.

I am glad to hear he will not be executed, simply for thinking and speaking and encouraging others to do the same.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:02 AM on September 28, 2010


I am relieved. Where there's life, there's hope. The alternative was too terrible to contemplate.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:08 AM on September 28, 2010


On the plus side, whenever the regime falls, he could be the next Nelson Mandela.
posted by empath at 10:10 AM on September 28, 2010


> On the plus side, whenever the regime falls, he could be the next Nelson Mandela.

That's inane.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:15 AM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's hard to be happy that Hoder's not going to die when you realize he's due to spend nearly twenty years in an Iranian prison and won't be out until he's 54.

I'm not a big advocate of swaggering aspirations for regime change, but I can see why they have their advocates when petty, thin skinned tyrants manage to rule countries.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:22 AM on September 28, 2010


That's inane.

Sadly doesn't sound like there's anything on the plus side.
posted by josher71 at 10:23 AM on September 28, 2010


Let's all keep working on asking for his release. Not dead is good -- being remembered and high profile enough to get early release would be much, much better.
posted by bearwife at 10:25 AM on September 28, 2010


i was right but the sentence...this worries me. perhaps it is a longhaul-for-now sentence. i.e. he does 2-3 years then release or use him as an exchange. the recent VIRUS in Irans system just does not look good for hoder or any computer folk. I.E.
a full 19 years is a death sentence for the most.

Now is the time for the bloggers to put on the tuxs and dresses and ask for mercy for Hoder and if anyone has a chip in Iran, cash it in.
(clav predicts he will be home with-in one year)

NOT TOO 'HI' PROFILE FOLKS. with-in the courts it is about mercy, praise to god.
posted by clavdivs at 10:28 AM on September 28, 2010


The Current (a news interview show on the CBC) did two long interviews this morning with Marjan Alem, his ex-wife, and Maziar Bahari, another friend of hoder's and a Canadian journalist (Newsweek) who also spent time in Evin prison.

There was some speculation from Bahari that this term may or may not be the full time. His release happened beacuse of US and UK pressure. If you're Canadian, the best thing you can do is write the Minister/Department of Foreign Affairs to keep up the pressure on hoder's behalf (contact info at the bottom of this page).
posted by bonehead at 10:46 AM on September 28, 2010


Rhaomi, Evin prison is probably very bad indeed. Read the CTV interview with Mr. Bahari; he describes beating, deprivations and long terms in solitary confinement.
posted by bonehead at 10:49 AM on September 28, 2010


Not Death is good news. Thank you for the updates and the contact info for how to proceed to the next step.

On preview-I know it's slim good news, but to hear from those who have seen Hoder and spoken to him is still better than the alternative. That prison is horrible, and you wonder just how someone survives. Hoder, we are pulling for you.

MeFites should send a thousand letters to that prison and hope at least one or two get through to him. That would be awesome.
posted by toastedbeagle at 11:00 AM on September 28, 2010


Maybe for people who are new to the story, the FPP part of this could have "Metafilter's Own Hoder" added, so they know why it is here?

This story was on the CBC radio national morning show today. It is good it is finally getting some media traction, though regrettably late. I intend to rub the unanswered emails I sent to my MP in her face next time she turns up at the fall Fair, which is kind of an impotent gesture I guess but you can only say FUCK so many times.
posted by Rumple at 12:05 PM on September 28, 2010


It's weird to breathe a sigh of relief for someone getting sentenced two decades in prison, but there it is. Hopefully this can be parlayed into something even better. But not-death is a really good first place to start.
posted by quin at 12:05 PM on September 28, 2010


I'm sorry, this is horrible, but it is still good news.

How can we get Hoder out earlier?
posted by grouse at 12:21 PM on September 28, 2010


It still blows my mind that there are places where people can face incarceration or death for their words.

Try mailing death threats to your president, smug boy.

How can we get Hoder out earlier?

Unfortunately, given the "we" is a predominantly white, US-based audience, pressure is likely to backfire on the guy.
posted by rodgerd at 12:34 PM on September 28, 2010


I'm relieved that it wasn't a death sentence, but I can't even begin to grasp the idea of spending 19 years in prison. That's just... awful. I truly, truly hope that something can be done to get him out earlier than that.
posted by Jelly at 12:37 PM on September 28, 2010


This is horrifying. I'm relieved he isn't being executed, but 19 years?!? He shouldn't be in prison at all. Fuck.
posted by homunculus at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2010


> What are the conditions like in Iranian prisons?

Terrible, I'm afraid. Torture is routine.

> Unfortunately, given the "we" is a predominantly white

White? What does that have to do with anything? Do you seriously think the Iranian regime gives a fuck?
posted by languagehat at 1:19 PM on September 28, 2010


Yeah, Evin Prison is bad. Torture and long-term solitary confinement (itself a form of torture, of course) are routine. I'm relieved that he's not being put to death, of course, which at least allows for long-term campaigning for his release. I'll be waiting to see what International PEN, Amnesty Internat'l, Reporters without Borders, et al. may be planning on in the wake of this news.
posted by scody at 1:24 PM on September 28, 2010


MeFites should send a thousand letters to that prison and hope at least one or two get through to him. That would be awesome.

This deserves some thought. What would it take to mobilize 100,000 people to start writing letters to oppressive regimes? How reliable is the Iran postal service? How would the Ministries of Justice and the Interior respond to receiving 50,000 letters condemning their activities, or their misrepresentation of Islamic Law, &c. Would they respond at all? Even if they didn't, what effect would the introduction of 50,000 letters into the system have? Could foreigners influence such a decision? Would such a volume of letters lend support to Western diplomatic efforts?

I imagine government departments in Iran don't differ too much from those in any other bureaucracy. Is the Western trope that civil servants are averse to destroying documents true of the Middle East? Does Iran law prohibit such destruction? Could we force them to change that law by overwhelming them with correspondence? How would Ministry staff react to a massive influx of rhetoric? They're people with egos and a sense of right and wrong. How would you feel if a million people told you they were disgusted by your actions? You might stand firm, but would it make you think twice before recommending a similar action in future? What if you could be a hero to those millions of people instead?

Is this sentiment misdirected? Would Iran simply ignore us? Should we be focusing on our own governments? If so, it only takes one letter in front of the right person, a line in a speech, a Presidential invite, an article, a meme.

What can we do as an online community? Well, we have words and culture and knowledge. We can't be targeted because we're everywhere. Look at AskMetaFilter. Who should we be talking to? Who should we be writing to? How do we start?
posted by doublehappy at 1:35 PM on September 28, 2010


Letter-writing campaigns is a major function of Amnesty Interational. If you contact your local branch, I'm sure they'll be happy to give you the addresses of the Iranian officials. They keep lists of such for exactly this.
posted by bonehead at 1:51 PM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Evin Prison is where Sarah Shourd was held. She told reporters that her male friends are being held there in a space no bigger than a towel.
posted by toastedbeagle at 1:53 PM on September 28, 2010


i just heard a news segment on public radio international's the world about this (not 30 minutes ago). maybe the piece is in their podcast or will appear on the website tomorrow?
posted by msconduct at 1:58 PM on September 28, 2010


msconduct, here it is.
posted by killy willy at 2:22 PM on September 28, 2010


Anyone else listen to the PRI piece? The commenter at the end of the segment was saying that Hoder's family is part of a group sympathetic to the regime, and speculated that perhaps they are hoping for a pardon when the verdict is announced publicly on Saturday. Maybe this explains why his family has been urging outsiders to keep a low profile.
posted by toastedbeagle at 2:37 PM on September 28, 2010


thank you, killy willy! tons of relief that the death sentence is off the table, but 19 years ... . let's keep this alive, and keep the ideas coming on how he can get out of there.
posted by msconduct at 2:39 PM on September 28, 2010


I tried to post several times, something encouraging about families I knew who got out of Iran, but none of those stories would be of particular use to Hoder. So I will say that we are thinking of him, and we will hope that his time in prison will be shortened. While I understand our government's position on not trading prisoners--which I assume is Canada's position, too--I think that if there are Iranians we are holding who can be released in exchange, I am for it.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:19 PM on September 28, 2010


madamjujujive: "Where there's life, there's hope."

This is exactly what I came in to say. I hope Hoder can stay strong while people continue to fight for him.
posted by deborah at 3:28 PM on September 28, 2010


The petition to free Hoder is up to 2903 signatures (and I am sure that the huge increase in the number of signatures since last week is due in very large measures to Mefis.) It would be great to keep spreading the word.
posted by bearwife at 3:32 PM on September 28, 2010


I'm trying to find out, for what reasons did he return to Iran in the first place? It might be covered in the older threads but I've gone over maybe half of them and haven't figure it out yet.

I hope he's not really stuck in prison that long.
posted by floam at 3:45 PM on September 28, 2010


according to what i remember of the pri piece, hoder was sympathetic to ahmadinejad's regime. he made a statement that if the u.s. invaded iran, he would move back to defend his country. he was apparently feeling more connected to his homeland. i would guess he went back to observe what was going on there firsthand.
posted by msconduct at 4:12 PM on September 28, 2010


I can't find the link, but in an L.A. Times piece it said that he was offered a job as a journalist and was promised that he would have no trouble with the government. Yikes.

From the little bit that I know about Iran, it almost sounds like he's getting special treatment. Being allowed an appeals process doesn't sound very common. So THAT'S good news.
posted by snsranch at 4:27 PM on September 28, 2010


There is now a front page story about hoder on The Guardian website.
posted by vincele at 4:31 PM on September 28, 2010


doublehappy: "What would it take to mobilize 100,000 people to start writing letters to oppressive regimes? How reliable is the Iran postal service?"

Are we sure this won't backfire and get Hoder into more trouble?

I know nothing about this, just want to make sure.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:11 PM on September 28, 2010


Very humble opinion here, but I believe that as long as one writes respectfully and apolitically that there won't be any harm done. My concern is that there is so much anti-Iran rhetoric going on that folks will write ranty, angry or politically charged crap as if Hoder actually has personal civil rights.
posted by snsranch at 6:06 PM on September 28, 2010


Unfortunately, given the "we" is a predominantly white, US-based audience, pressure is likely to backfire on the guy.

This keeps coming up, but it's not clear at all that polite letters from Westerners are "likely" to backfire. Hoder's mother was quoted in the previous thread saying, "I really do not know what is in Hossein's best interest or what may come at his expense, I can only pray for him. Both myself, as well as his father are very confused these days."

They've been trying to minimize media attention for a while, probably hoping to soothe feathers and work something out quietly, but they seem to have given up on that strategy (or realized they can't control it anymore). If you don't want to help because you think it'll actually hurt, that's your call, of course. But the idea that polite letters of support from around the world are "likely to backfire" seems a bit of a stretch to me.
posted by mediareport at 7:25 PM on September 28, 2010


Based on the kinds of writing intended to be polite and not-controversial I've read, let me just go ahead and commit this to the record:

If I get locked up in North Korea or Iran, please don't take it upon yourself to contact them. If I'm not in the news go ahead and do something about that (unless it seems like there's an intentional press blackout), but please don't send things to my captors.
posted by floam at 10:08 PM on September 28, 2010


Unfortunately, given the "we" is a predominantly white

Yeah, Aryans hate white people.
posted by BinGregory at 10:49 PM on September 28, 2010


Personal context because it's important in this case: I have lived for the past 11 years in Pakistan and the UAE. I was born in the US, but raised in Pakistan. Then I went back to college in the US. Then I moved back to Pakistan.

Actual comment: One of the ways in which letter-writing campaigns from "the West" can backfire is that much of the Muslim world is really tired of being told by "the West" how bad the human rights situation in the Muslim world is. I'm talking here about woman/man-on-the-street opinion. It's not that they don't know or care about human rights violations in their countries, but they really don't want to be told what to do by "the West" and particularly by Americans.

The Irani government in general, and Ahmedinejad in his capacity as president, have consistently played to the gallery on "resisting pressure from the West." And the Irani government gets a lot of respect from a lot of people in the Muslim world for standing up to "the West" even though it leads to practical difficulties for the people of Iran. There's a very real "at least someone is willing to stand up for principle" sentiment. This is one of the things that drives Ahmedinejad's anti-Israel posturing.

Oh, and there's also the fact that freedom of expression is not universally considered a good. I know many many many intelligent, otherwise liberal people in Pakistan, who do not think people should be allowed to go around just saying anything about their countries.

So, if 100,000 letters sent from the rest of the Muslim world, preferably written in a non-European language, could be arranged, that might actually work. Otherwise, I think you might actually end up really making them dig in their heels.

I find the Catch-22-ness of the situation extremely depressing, myself. I think Hoder should be freed. But because I am the kind of person who believes that Hoder should be freed, my opinion doesn't mean much to the Irani government.
posted by bardophile at 11:03 PM on September 28, 2010 [15 favorites]


Here's a link to the Guardian article.
posted by vacapinta at 12:31 AM on September 29, 2010


One way of helping is to get Hoder accepted as Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International. Reporters without Borders is already trying to help with its online petition Free The Blogfather.
posted by adamvasco at 1:36 AM on September 29, 2010


I was just listening to this on NPR; here is their story (audio not up until 9AM here). It is a little different from the PRI one linked above.
posted by TedW at 4:25 AM on September 29, 2010


If you donate by Thursday, Sept. 30, Amnesty International will receive a dollar-for-dollar matching gift.

adamvasco, your first link is broken. Can you try again, please?
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:43 AM on September 29, 2010


Prisoner of Conscience. I'm not sure how Amnesty "grades" individuals but searching for Hoder or Derakhshan comes up blank. However on the Free The Blogfather petition I see that Reporters Without Borders ( French based Reporter sans Frontieres) is associated with Amnesty.
posted by adamvasco at 7:11 AM on September 29, 2010


I was actually thinking that we write letters of support (hang in there, we're thinking of you) to Hoder himself, not his captors, and certainly not Letters Condemning Your Actions to the Revolutionary Guard.

But, yeah floam, I hear ya. Probably not a good plan.

thanks, scissors, hitting the AI site now.
posted by toastedbeagle at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2010


I vote we write him individual letters of encouragement like toatedbeagle suggested. Or what about a letter from the Metafilter community signed by mefites who sign by posting in a meta thread created specifically for that purpose?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:05 AM on September 29, 2010


Just dropping in again to let everyone who doesn't read it know that the Wall Street Journal had a story today about Hoder's sentence.

Also, I like AElfwine Evenstar's suggestion, unless Hoder's family is asking for some other sort of action. (I'd most like to be guided by them.)
posted by bearwife at 2:31 PM on September 29, 2010


Could someone please figure out how to get letters to him or to his family, directly or indirectly?

I was trying to figure that out, but I am tired of unanswered questions at the moment.
posted by zennie at 2:39 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reporters without Borders is already trying to help with its online petition Free The Blogfather.

I keep trying to sign that petition but I never get the email which contains the confirmation link. Anyone else had problems or success signing?

I think we really need to get a letter to his family, letting them know how we all feel and that the Canadian mefites are doing all kinds of letter writing and phone calling to the appropriate gov't officials, that we're not going to forget him. If we could send a single letter to his mom, she could pass on all our good wishes without it offending his jailers, as I suspect a flood of mail to the actual prison might do. Maybe Jessamyn could compose a letter that we all sign off on?
posted by zarah at 6:20 PM on September 29, 2010


I'm not sure what would happen if mail were sent to the prison.

I was thinking more along the lines of an Amnesty International holiday card action. Members send generic greeting cards to prisoners of conscience. These cards do not mention human rights organizations, do not discuss political circumstances, and do not mention charges against the prisoner. They simply say, "you are not forgotten" or "thinking of you" or the like ("you are on the hivemind"?).

That's the kind of thing I was imagining.
posted by zennie at 9:28 PM on September 29, 2010


I emailed amnesty about this but have heard nothing. Don't know why but hoder isn't on Amnesty's radar.
posted by seanyboy at 1:12 AM on September 30, 2010


Maybe Jessamyn could compose a letter that we all sign off on?

Forgive me for intruding into this thread, as I have not followed this story very closely, but it seems that this a pretty tall order to ask of one person, especially a mod who has not posted in this particular thread.

Hoder belongs to more than just Metafilter; he has a major internet presence. Maybe the Metafilter people most dedicated to helping him should contact what these other online groups and find out what they are doing, especially the ones with knowledge of the actual political dynamics of his case in Iran, and go from there.

Or, a mefite could nominate oneself to reach out to the family. It just seems like a lot to ask a mod to lead this effort and contrary to the idea recently hashed out here that Metafilter is not going to promote causes, however worthy.
posted by vincele at 8:18 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


A minor mention, but notable that it's spread so far. The British Ambassador to South Korea, Martin Uden has just attacked Hossein's sentence on his official Foreign Office blog.

(Having met many diplomats who regard not offending anyone ever as one of their key duties, Uden impressed me by ruffling feathers with his first blog entry after taking up the ambassadorship.)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:02 AM on October 1, 2010

Actual comment: One of the ways in which letter-writing campaigns from "the West" can backfire is that much of the Muslim world is really tired of being told by "the West" how bad the human rights situation in the Muslim world is. I'm talking here about woman/man-on-the-street opinion. It's not that they don't know or care about human rights violations in their countries, but they really don't want to be told what to do by "the West" and particularly by Americans.

The Irani government in general, and Ahmedinejad in his capacity as president, have consistently played to the gallery on "resisting pressure from the West." And the Irani government gets a lot of respect from a lot of people in the Muslim world for standing up to "the West" even though it leads to practical difficulties for the people of Iran. There's a very real "at least someone is willing to stand up for principle" sentiment. This is one of the things that drives Ahmedinejad's anti-Israel posturing.

[...]

I find the Catch-22-ness of the situation extremely depressing, myself. I think Hoder should be freed. But because I am the kind of person who believes that Hoder should be freed, my opinion doesn't mean much to the Irani government.
This is a big reason why I keep bringing up Ahmadinejad's ally Hugo Chavez and his American and European supporters in Iran threads. I sincerely suspect that those of us who might (even if falsely) be believed to be part of the lefty/liberal audience of Michael Moore or Oliver Stone* do collectively have a degree of say in the matter. If Chavez's US/European friends insist on keeping silent on the atrocities in Iran then we need to let them know that we know that they are hypocrites and cowards.

*(or supporters of people like former London mayor Ken Livingstone, if that applies)
posted by Anything at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2010


And to clarify, I don't want to overemphasize the abovementioned or any other high-profile Chavez supporters. Chavez needs to lose whatever sympathy he has from the left in general if he keeps supporting the Iran junta, and since there really is no sign of change in that area, I think a clear message of warning from the European and American left is long overdue.
posted by Anything at 1:44 PM on October 3, 2010


Anything: that makes a great deal of sense to me, as well. I do not know enough about the degree of connectedness between Chavez and Ahmedinejad. If it is more than merely rhetorical, then I would be cautiously in favour of it. Because "keeping face" is terribly important. If Chavez could assert behind the scenes leverage that would be great. But they would need to find a way to finesse things so that Iran could back down without losing face, otherwise it would be pointless.
posted by bardophile at 10:09 PM on October 3, 2010


Got a reply from Amnesty UK. He's on their urgent action UK list.

If you're in the UK, then the following may be of use:
BLOGGER UNFAIRLY TRIED, SENTENCED TO 19 YEARS
IRAN
Hossein Derakhshan (M)

Blogger Hossein Derakhshan, 35, a dual Canadian-Iranian national, has been unfairly tried and sentenced on 28 September 2010 to 19 and a half years’ imprisonment on vaguely worded charges relating to national security. He was detained without charge for about19 months prior to trial and denied regular access to his family and lawyer. Amnesty International believes he is likely held solely for the peaceful expression of his views, and if so should be immediately and unconditionally released.
According to the Iranian website Mashreghnews, Hossein Derakhshan was convicted by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of “cooperating with hostile states“, “propaganda against the system”, “propaganda in favour of counter-revolutionary groups, “insults to the holy sanctities”, and “the set-up and management of vulgar and obscene websites”. According to his lawyer, much of the evidence used against him consisted of writings from his blogs. According to Mashreghnews he was also given a five-year ban on political and journalistic activities and ordered to repay funds he allegedly received, of 30,750 Euros, US$2,900, and UK£200. The site did not provide further information about the origin or purpose of the funds.

Hossein Derakhshan was arrested at his family home during a visit to Iran on 1 November 2008 by five plain-clothed officials who were said to have had a search warrant. Although a dual Canada-Iran national, he was denied consular assistance.

After months of detention during which he was denied regular access to family or legal representation, his trial, began in June 2010. Amnesty International has for many years raised concerns about trials before Revolutionary Courts in Iran. His lawyer is expected to appeal the sentence and has 20 days since the verdict to do so.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, English, French or your own language:
* Expressing concern about the fairness of his trial;
* Calling on the Iranian authorities to ensure that his appeal, which should review both facts and law relating to his conviction and sentence, is conducted in accordance with international standards for fair trial;
* Urging the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Hossein Derakhshan if he is held solely for the peaceful expression of his views.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO: (Time difference = GMT + 3.5 hrs / BST + 2.5 hrs)

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info_leader@leader.ir
via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani
Bureau of International Affairs, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com
Fax: 0098 21 5 537 8827 (please keep trying)

PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEAL TO:
His Excellency Mr Rasoul Movahedian Attar, Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran,
16 Prince's Gate, London SW7 1PT.
Fax: 020 7589 4440

PLEASE CHECK WITH THE UK SECTION IF SENDING APPEALS AFTER 18 NOVEMBER 2010.
posted by seanyboy at 4:56 AM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reason Magazine:
Tyranny Goes Global
Iran sets a dangerous precedent by jailing Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan.
Derakhshan, an Iranian-born Canadian citizen, has been in prison in Iran for the past 22 months, after being arrested shortly after returning to his country of birth under suspicious circumstances in 2008. Late last month, it was reported that Derakhshan had been sentenced to 19 years in prison. One activist who wished to remain anonymous told me that this is the longest prison sentence given in Iran for a speech-crime since the post-election crackdown that began in June 2009. But the sentence is still a victory of sorts: There were credible rumors that prosecutors had been pushing for the death penalty.

No one knows why Derakhshan went back to Iran, but it's been credibly suggested that he was offered a job with Press TV, Iran's government-owned satellite news network. If this is true, then it's possible that some faction of the Iranian government played a role in convincing him to return to the country. Nir Boms of Cyberdissidents.org speculated that the government lured Derakhshan back to Iran in order to pump him for infomation about the Iranian opposition's web network. "If you are a known political activist and someone who holds the key to many of the opposition blogs, who know some passwords to many of their websites, you are an asset to the regime, no doubt," says Boms. Boms added that there's some proof that the Iranian government promised not to hassle or arrest Derakhshan if he returned to the country, further suggesting an effort by regime hardliners to entrap one of the world's most important Persian-language bloggers. "It seemed before he returned he received some assurances from Iran that nothing bad would happen to him," he says. "The Council for Iranians Abroad seem to have given him indication that he wouldn’t have problems with the government."
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:10 PM on October 19, 2010


The Economist:

A MONTH ago a court in Iran sentenced Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian-Canadian, to almost 20 years in jail, the longest sentence ever handed down to a blogger. The charges were murky. He was convicted of co-operating with hostile states and insulting Islam. Often hailed as Iran’s “blogfather”, he published a do-it-yourself guide to blogging in Persian earlier this decade that helped to prompt an explosion of activity. Today there may be as many as 75,000 Persian blogs.
posted by Brent Parker at 8:50 PM on October 23, 2010


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