The Iranian courts have produced their weekly outrage. The leading blogger in Iran, Hossein Derakhshan, 35, was sentenced to 19 1/2 years in prison for his writings. Derakhshan was the founder of one of the first Farsi-language blogs and helped instruct others in how to create their own blogs. The authoritarian regime views such blogs as a threat to its control over the population.
Derakhshan is an Iranian-Canadian and was writing his blog from Canada. While he began as a critic of the Iranian leadership, he later became a supporter on his blog of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was actually denounced by many bloggers for his embracing of Ahmadinejad, but that did not seem to help him much when he visited Iran and was promptly arrested.
It appears that the charges include references to a visit by Derakhshan to Israel where he sought to serve as a bridge between the two countries. He was accused of “cooperation with hostile countries, . . . spreading propaganda against the ruling establishment, promotion of counterrevolutionary groups and insulting Islamic thought and religious figures.”