Gaoled: for blogging…

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
Over recent weeks, making my own opinion known about various events, various topics has become much more easy – when I started really using this blog. This is made all the more easy by the fact that in the United Kingdom and indeed most of the Western world you are unlikely to find yourself in gaol – let alone dead for it.

Omidreza Mirsayafi - young Iranian blogger found dead in prison March 2009

In March of last year, it was reported that a young Iranian blogger, Omidreza Mirsayafi, was found dead in prison. Mirsayafi had been imprisoned for

insulting Islamic Republic Leaders.

And what was on his blog – major rants against the leaders?

No.

Most of the articles on Mirsayafi’s blog were about traditional Persian music and about culture. After his conviction, he told Reporters Without Borders,

“I am a cultural and not a political blogger. Of all the articles I have posted online, only two or three were satirical. I did not mean to insult anyone.”

from The Blog Herald

Today we hear that Iranian-Canadian Hossein Derakhshan, who is only three years older than I am, has been sentenced by an Iranian court to 19 years in prison. He has earned the nickname ‘the Blogfather’ as he has been credited with assisting in the blogging revolution in Iran, after he published instructions in Farsi about blogging. It is said that the charges on which he is being held are suspicions of spying for Israel.

The Telegraph reports that

Opposition websites also reported on Tuesday that prominent journalist Issa Saharkhiz had been sentenced to three years in jail for “insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and spreading propaganda against the Islamic system”.

Thank goodness that I live in the United Kingdom. So, bloggers everywhere, let us remember our brothers and sisters who may end up in gaol as a result of their blogging.

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