The sentence against the 36-year-old Derakhshan, who blogged under the name Hoder, is one of the longest prison terms given to a blogger in the Islamic republic.
Derakhshan played a key part in helping to popularize blogging in Iran. He was convicted over a 2006 visit to Israel and his writings. Charges against him included working with hostile governments, propaganda against the state, and insulting religious sanctities.
Understandably, the family appears to be in shock:
“His sentence was confirmed. I can’t believe it. Whatever we did -- all our requests, letters we wrote, the printout of his writings we took to people who could do something – it was all useless. Twenty years … When God forgives his creatures and accepts their repentance, why can't God’s creatures forgive Hossein? No one listened to what Hossein had to say. No one wanted to hear his defense. God, please rescue him."
-- Golnaz Esfandiari