Hossein Derakhshan Receives 19.5 Years In Prison

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has the news:

After months of anticipation and almost two years after his arrest and imprisonment, blogger Hossein Derakhshan was sentenced to 19.5 years in prison by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts today. News of the stiff sentence was first published by Mashreq website. A source close to the family of Hossein Derakhshan confirmed the news for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, adding that Derakhshan’s family are shocked by the news.  ”Neither the family nor the lawyer knew about the sentence, they read the news online.” The conservative website referred to Hossein Derakhshan as an “anti-revolutionary blogger.”

“According to the sentence issued today by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts with Judge Salavati presiding, Derakhshan who was arrested in October 2008, has been charged with ‘cooperation with hostile states, propagating against the regime, propagation in favor of anti-revolutionary groups, insulting sanctities, and implementation and management of obscene websites,’ and sentenced to 19.5 years in prison, five years’ ban from membership in political parties and activities in the media; and returning received funds in the amount of 30,750 Euro, US$2,900, and 200 British Pounds,” reported the Mashreq website.

I wonder whether the £200 represents the payment that Derakhshan received from Comment is Free for those of his articles that were “Editor’s Picks”.

When he started blogging at CiF in 2005, his articles attacked Ahmadinejad as an unpopular leader and called for liberal reform in Iran. Before his arrest, he had changed his tune, and started enthusing about Ahmadinejad’s popularity and attacking Satrapi’s Persepolis for suggesting that Iran was a “police state“.

But a police state the Islamic Republic is, and Derakhshan’s desperate attempts to divert the anger of the regime failed.

We hope for his freedom.