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Calls For Iran’s 'Blogfather' To Be Released From Prison

Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan
Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan
The international Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has called on the country's judiciary to release blogger Hossein Derakhshan, who was arrested a year ago.

Derakhshan is known as "the blogfather" of Iran for introducing a guide that helped popularize blogging in Iran.

Derakhshan, who reportedly holds dual Iranian-Canadian citizenship, was arrested in 2008 just a few weeks following his return to Iran after living in Canada and other countries for eight years.

His brother, Hamed Derakhshan, told RFE/RL Radio Farda’s Nima Tamadon that the family is not aware of the charges against Derakhshan. He said no trial has been held for Derakhshan. He said they have been able to meet with him only twice since his arrest.

Hadi Ghaemi, spokesman for the International Campaign for Human rights in Iran, has called Derakhshan's case an example of the lack of respect that the country’s judiciary has for Iranian laws.

Some suggested that Derakhshan had cooperated with judiciary officials in the cases of those arrested in the postelection crackdown. The indictments of reformists and others put on trial over the postelection unrest include references to information provided by “a jailed spy who worked with Israel.” Some believe that is a reference to Derakhshan because of a 2006 trip to Israel.

But Derakhshan’s brother told Radio Farda that he believes the information allegedly used against the reformists may have been taken from Derakhshan’s blog entries, which he had posted before his arrest.

An Iran-based rights group, Human Rights Activists in Iran, reported recently that Derakhshan was held for several months in solitary confinement and that he has been under pressure to confess to the charges brought against him by his interrogators.

(by Golnaz Esfandiari)

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