Iran sentences Canadian blogger to 19 years in prison

Hossein Derakhshan has been sentenced to more than 19 years in prison, according to an Iranian news source close to Iran’s presidential office.

CBC’s The Current this morning aired very good interviews with Marjan Alemi, Derakhshan’s ex-wife, and with Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was jailed by Iran for 118 days last year. The interviews aren’t yet posted on The Current’s website but will be soon. Bahari’s account of his ordeal can and should be read here.

One of the things that struck me in the interviews was Alemi’s assertion that Derakhshan returned to Iran because he had been invited by the Iranian government to work with it. I had heard this this from several Iranian ex-pats but felt I couldn’t publish it without more solid confirmation. Derakhshan is now in the hands of the Revolutionary Guards. Power in Iran is fragmented, and it’s possible that he is a victim of these divisions. But given President Ahmadinejad’s close relationship with the Revolutionary Guards, I feel it is more likely he was set up.

For more context and background on Derakhshan and his arrest and trial, see my article here.

The regime, meanwhile, remains popular with useful idiots outside Iran.

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