Maziar 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.