Accessibility links

Breaking News


Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a measure that imposes fines on Internet providers that refuse to restrict access to online information banned by the authorities.

All Internet providers were previously obliged to cut access to blacklisted information within 24 hours after it is added to the restricted list by Russia's media regulator, Roskomnadzor.

The law signed on February 22, however, imposes fines for noncompliance.

The fines range between 5,000 rubles ($87) and 100,000 rubles ($1,730).

Based on reporting by RIA and Interfax
Ahmad Montazeri, the son of prominent Iranian theologian Hossein Ali Montazeri.

The son of one of the founding fathers of the Islamic republic has been arrested to serve a six-year prison sentence for releasing a decades-old audiotape in which his father denounced the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988.

Ahmad Montazeri was summoned to the special clerical court on February 22 and later announced that he would remain in custody, according to a statement on Montazeri's website and Telegram feed.

Montazeri, a 60-year-old Islamic cleric, is the son of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who was once the designated successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran's 1979 revolution.

In August, Ahmad Montazeri released a 40-minute recording of his father from 1988, arguing with leading members of the judiciary about the executions.

According to Amnesty International, Iranian officials executed some 5,000 political dissidents at the end of the country's 1988 war with Iraq. Hossein Montazeri was one of the few Iranian leaders to speak out against Khomeini's order to execute the prisoners.

In November 2016 the special court for clergy sentenced Ahmad Montazeri to 21 years in prison on charges of "acting against national security" and "releasing a classified audio file."

But the court reduced the term to six years in view of his lack of previous convictions and the fact that his brother was killed in an attack by a Marxist group that Tehran views as a terrorist organization.

Montazeri's younger brother, Saeed Montazeri, told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that his brother had appealed the sentence.

He said it wasn't clear if the appeal was successful.

He said Montazeri's arrest seems to be related to their father's audiotape.

"We don't know officially, but it must be related to the same issue as there hasn't been any other," he said in a telephone interview.

Hossein Montazeri, who was put under house arrest for several years, became the spiritual father of Iran's opposition movement. He died in 2009.

Ahmad Montazeri has been outspoken in his criticism of the Iranian establishment.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Load more

About This Blog

"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.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More