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Iran sentences journalist Maziar Bahari
10 May 2010
BY EMILY BUTSELAAR

Maziar BahariMaziar Bahari sentenced by Iran in absentia — 13 years and 6 months in jail and 74 lashes

The Canadian-Iranian reporter, Iran correspondent for Newsweek magazine, was released on bail by the Iranian authorities in October 2009 and left the country. Index on Censorship, Newsweek, Committee to Protect Journalists and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression campaigned for Bahari’s release after he was detained on 21 June 2009 in the aftermath of last year’s disputed presidential election during Iran’s post-election crackdown on the media. He discovered his sentence yesterday, after Iran’s security services informed his family.

Five years imprisonment for gathering and conspiring against the security of the state (for taking part in the  demonstrations after the presidential election).

Four years for collecting and keeping secret and classified documents (for keeping a court document regarding Freedom Movement of Iran given to him by one of the leaders of the group).

One year for propagating against the system (for Bahari’s post-election Newsweek articles).

Two years for insulting the Supreme Leader (for a private e-mail he sent in which Bahari said Khamenei has learnt from the Shah’s mistakes).

Two years and 74 lashes for disrupting public order (for filming the Basij shooting at people).

Six months for insulting the president (for someone tagging a picture of Ahmadinejad kissing a boy on Bahari’s Facebook wall. The authorities said that the picture implied that the president was a homosexual).

Bahari expressed surprise that none of the charges he was interrogated over – including espionage, paving the way for a velvet revolution, contacts with Jews and Israelis, improper sexual conduct and connecting various reformist leaders to western governments – are mentioned in the sentence.

He suggested the sentence and the wave of other sentences and arrests made on the eve of the first anniversary of the election are supposed to scare people from taking part in the demonstrations, and from reporting them.

Bahari recently headed the Our Society Will Be A Free Society campaign, with events aimed at building pressure for the release of writers and journalists in prison in Iran.

One response to “Iran sentences journalist Maziar Bahari”

  1. […] On Sunday [9 May] Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari was sentenced by Iran in absentia, to 13 years and 6 months in jail and 74 lashes. Over on Newsweek.com, Bahari writes a powerful response, in a piece outlining the charges against him. He ends: I can write these lines with my tongue firmly in my cheek from the safety of my house in London, of course, but more than 30 journalists, writers, and bloggers are still languishing in Iran’s prisons. Dozens of others are either out on bail or furlough and can be put in prison anytime the Revolutionary Guards desire. Hundreds of other Iranians are in jail for charges that are even more absurd than mine. Five activists were executed on May 8, and 25 others are on death row. […]