Friday 24 September 2010

Jailed bloggers could face death penalty in Iran

Press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders says it is very concerned about serious human rights violations by the Revolutionary Guards against journalists and netizens held in Iranian prisons.

It says prosecutors may be about to request the death penalty for two bloggers who have been detained since 2008, Vahid Asghari and Hossein Derakhshan.

“The serious charges against Asghari and Derakhshan, which are completely groundless, are punishable by the death penalty under Islamic law,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The international community must intervene and demand explanations from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is backed by the Revolutionary Guards, and from the judicial authorities, who are abusing the law.”

Asghari, an ICT student in India, was arrested on 11 May 2008 at Tehran airport for possessing several credit cards. RWB says he was held in solitary confinement for seven months and was mistreated and tortured to make him confess to organising a pornographic network that blasphemed Islam and criticised the government.

Derakhshan, who has Iranian and Canadian dual nationality, was arrested by Revolutionary Guards on 1 November 2008. RWB says he was given a trial without due process and has remained in detention even since awaiting the court’s verdict. He was charged with “insulting government leaders and Islam’s holy texts.”

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