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'Genius' Blogger Sentenced To 15 Years

Blogger Hossein Maleki Ronaghi in an undated photograph
Blogger Hossein Maleki Ronaghi in an undated photograph
Iranian blogger Hossein Maleki Ronaghi has been reportedly sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Ronaghi’s mother, Zoleikha Mousavi, told the BBC's Persian service that authorities informed him about the heavy prison sentence verbally.

She said that Ronaghi has been on a hunger strike since October 3 to protest his mistreatment in prison. He’s reportedly being held in an Evin prison ward that is controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Ronaghi’s mother says that her son, who was arrested during the June 2009 postelection crackdown, has spent 300 days in solitary confinement. Charges against him reportedly include acting against Iran’s national security and working with foreign media. She says her son has said that he has been threatened in jail with execution and that he's been pressured to make false confessions.

Ronaghi, who blogged under the name Babak Khoramdin, is often described as a “genius” because of his computer and online skills.

His prison sentence comes only days after another blogger, Hossein Derakhshan -- who is known as Iran’s Blog father -- was given 19 1/2 years in prison, the longest sentence ever issued for blogging in the Islamic republic.

Several free speech groups, including Article 19 and the Committee to Protect Journalists, have called on Iran to release him.

A number of bloggers have ended up in jail in Iran in recent years over their writings. Several have been forced to leave the country.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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