Mojtaba Has Been Released

According to RSF:

Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the early release of blogger Mojtaba Saminejad, who was serving a combined sentence of two years and 10 months in prison. He was formally freed on 12 September but had in fact been on home leave since June. Arrested in February 2005, he spent nearly 18 months in prison for a few messages posted on his blog.

Saminejad was first arrested on 1 November 2004 for criticising the arrest of three fellow bloggers online. While held, his blog’s address was diverted to the website of a group linked to the Iranian radical Islamist movement Hezbollah. On leaving prison on 27 January 2005, he resumed his blog using a new address (http://8mdr8.blogspot.com), which led to his re-arrest a few days later.

He was initially sentenced on 23 March 2005 to two years in prison for “insulting the Supreme Guide.” At a second trial, he was given an additional 10-month sentence “publishing false information with the aim of unsettling public opinion” and “immoral” behaviour. He was held in Gohar Dashat prison, in a suburb of Tehran, which is notorious for mistreating its inmates. He shared a cell with non-political detainees. He
was allowed to sit mid-course exams at Tehran’s Azad university at the end of January, although he was led in handcuffs into the examination room.

Another Iranian blogger, Arash Sigarchi, was first held for two months at the start of 2005. He was sent back to prison on 26 January 2006, four days after being given a three-year sentence for “insulting the Supreme Guide” and “propaganda against the regime.” He says he has not been mistreated in prison.

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Iran in Blogologue

I have contributed a piece called “The Image of Iran” to Farid Pouya’s Blogologue project. This is an attempt to create a dialogue between bloggers and non-bloggers around the world on certain topics. This first one was on the image of Iran in the Western media. I was flattered that Farid asked me to put in my two cents worth.

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