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Hossein Derakhshan, seen in this undated courtesy photo, holds dual Iranian and Canadian citizenship.
AP has quoted a conservative Iranian website as saying that a prominent blogger has been convicted for antistate activities and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

The report, citing mashreghnews.ir, does not specify when the court issued its verdict for Hossein Derakhshan, who has been in custody for two years.

Derakhshan was convicted of cooperation with hostile countries, spreading propaganda against the ruling establishment, promoting counterrevolutionary groups, and insulting Islamic thoughts and religious figures, AP reports.

Derakhshan, nicknamed Hoder, was a leading figure in the Persian-language blogosphere and was credited with helping blogs gain popularity in his native Iran -- so much so that he was dubbed Iran's "Blogfather."

He was arrested in 2008, shortly after returning to Iran following time living in Britain and Canada.

Derakhshan holds dual Iranian-Canadian citizenship.

Recent unconfirmed reports had suggested Derakhshan had been sentenced to death. Derakshan's mother said recently that prosecutors had asked for the "maximum penalty" for her son.

Mashreghnews.ir is said to enjoy close ties to the office of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

compiled from agency and RFE/RL reports
One of the persecuted Uzbek journalists, Dilmurod Sayyid, whose wife and 6-year-old daughter died in an auto accident while traveling to visit him in prison in November 2009
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has voiced alarm over the treatment of journalists in Uzbekistan.

The OSCE's freedom of the media representative, Dunja Mijatovic, said in a statement that she is "alarmed by the unrelenting judicial pressure exerted upon independent journalists in Uzbekistan."

Writing to the Uzbek foreign minister, Vladimir Norov, Mijatovic expressed concern for two journalists, Abdumalik Boboyev and Vladimir Berezovski, prosecuted for alleged libel.

Mijatovic also expressed concern about three other journalists -- Dilmurod Saiid, Solijon Abdurahmanov, and Hairullo Khamidov -- who are currently serving jail sentences of between six and 12 1/2 years.

In her letter to the Uzbek foreign minister, Mijatovic wrote that "non state-media in Uzbekistan continue to be the target of unrelenting judicial harassment and this is a matter of serious concern to me."

-- RFE/RL Central Newsroom

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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