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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Speaking freely

An Iranian blogger has been sentenced to one year in jail and 124 lashes. Committee to Protect Bloggers reports:

"Omid was first arrested last year, confined for two months, including one in solitary confinement, and tortured, due to his blog which featured satire on the Iranian situation.

"When he was brought to court on October 8 he faced different charges, due to the fact that even in the Iran judicial system it would have been difficult to convict him on charges relating to his blog. Instead, he faced, and was convicted on, charges stemming from "morals" violations, including "having unlawful relations, drinking wine, corruption of morals (for having a birthday party) and possessing satirical pictures of Iranian politicians."

"Now this blogger in his early twenties will be beaten half to death and join Mojtaba Saminejad as a felon in the general prison population. The Iranian government should be as ashamed as the Iranian people no doubt already are. Please sign the petition for Omid.

"Omid now faces a second trial, presumably an appeal, not unlike Arash Sigarchi's."


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