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Iranian Blogger Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison

Iranian blogger and journalist Arash Sigarchi was sentenced to prison yesterday on a day other bloggers had set aside to call for his freedom and that of fellow jailed blogger Mojtaba Saminjad.

(New York, February 24, 2005 - Reuters)--The Iranian government sentenced the prominent blogger Arash Cigarchi to 14 years in prison for expressing his opinions on the Internet and in the international press, marking a new low for freedom of expression in Iran, Human Rights Watch said today. "The Iranian government is sending a message to its critics: keep silent or face years in prison," said Widney Brown, deputy program director of Human Rights Watch.

In the northern province of Gilan, the revolutionary court issued the sentence on February 2. However, the court made its ruling public only on February 22. Charges brought against Cigarchi include espionage, "aiding and abating hostile governments and opposition groups," endangering national security and insulting Iran's leaders. The court based its decision on a report by the intelligence ministry agents who arrested Cigarchi on January 17.

More information is available from the Committee to Protect Bloggers.


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Comments (6)

Too bad Human Rights Watch ... (Below threshold)
Philip:

Too bad Human Rights Watch can't differentiate between true repression and their shrill anti-Americanism - I don't care what they think. Iran has a rude awakening coming...

Why are we saying that Blog... (Below threshold)

Why are we saying that Bloggers punished. This makes us to see that blogging is the cause of punishment. May be we should look at the "act" as to what the blogger did? Blogger do not have the licence to do as they please. They should observe other ethical and moral boundries of human behaviour. No?

That's it, lets invade. </p... (Below threshold)
JP2:

That's it, lets invade.

-JP2

I think we need to send Con... (Below threshold)
James:

I think we need to send Condi over there. She can just point to Iraq, wink, and walk away.

Oh, and Shirazi embodies all that is wrong with the Left (even though I suspect he'd disagree with a lot of their views) -- they make the fundamentally flawed assumption that free speech doesn't need to be protected if it offends somebody. Say it with me: "words cannot hurt me". If you don't like what I say, don't listen.

I mean sure, "...observe other ethical and moral boundries..."? Sure, if you're going to hurt somebody, e.g. with libel or by enciting a riot. But "aiding and abetting opposition groups" and "insulting government leaders" are *definitely* what we here in the Land of the Free would consider protected speech, and with good reason.

They should observe othe... (Below threshold)

They should observe other ethical and moral boundries of human behaviour. No?

Such as, for example, defending a tyrannical theocracy that jails people for what they say? I'd call that outside of ethical and moral boundaries of behavior.

Fortunately, Shirazi, you and I both have the right to express our opinions as we see fit, so you can say what you want to say, and I can say what I want to say, and neither of us can silence the other.

Seems to me bloggers in Iran deserve as much.

See post over at the BuzzMa... (Below threshold)

See post over at the BuzzMachine:

Link Here




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