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Iran Sentences 'Newsweek' Reporter In Absentia


Maziar Bahari (left) received the Henri Nannen Prize publishing house "Gruner and Jahr" and "Stern" magazine in Hamburg on May 7 for his efforts on behalf of a free press.

Maziar Bahari (left) received the Henri Nannen Prize publishing house "Gruner and Jahr" and "Stern" magazine in Hamburg on May 7 for his efforts on behalf of a free press.

An Iranian court has sentenced an Iranian-Canadian journalist who was in Iran to cover last June's presidential election for "Newsweek" magazine to 74 lashes and 13 1/2 years in jail in his trial in absentia on national security charges, "The New York Times" reports.

Maziar Bahari, who spent more than three months in jail before being released on $300,000 bail and flying to London to be with his wife and newborn daughter, was accused of "conspiring against [Iranian] national security, possession of classified documents, propagating against the government, and insulting both the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei, and [President Mahmud] Ahmadinejad," according to the paper. It adds:

The severity of the sentence, announced a day after five Iranian Kurdish activists were abruptly hanged in a Tehran prison, appeared to be a new signal of repression before the anniversary of the disputed presidential election of June 12, 2009, which galvanized Iran’s opposition movement into the biggest political threat to the theocracy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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