Reporters Without Borders today strongly condemned the Iranian authorities for confirming a six-month prison sentence and one million rials (85 euros) fine on Mohamad Reza Nasab Abdolahi, editor of the weblog Webnegar (Web Writer), for supposedly insulting the country's leaders and making anti-government propaganda.
He was sentenced on appeal on 23 February and is still free but risks arrest at any moment. The day before, another blogger, Arash Sigarchi, was jailed for 14 years on similar charges.
The worldwide press freedom organisation called for "strong international condemnation" of Iran's crackdown on bloggers and urged other bloggers to "spread news about this wave of repression," including the imprisonment of Sigarchi, blogger Mojtaba Saminejad and online journalist Mojtaba Lofti, so as to put pressure on the authorities.
Abdolahi, a student campaigner for human rights and democracy and editor of the student paper Noghteh Sare Khat, is thought to have been punished for posting an open letter to the country's Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on his weblog (www.iranreform.persianblog.com). He was also reportedly accused of working for foreign radio stations.
The appeal hearing upheld a sentence imposed on 24 January by a court in Kerman (near the southern town of Bam) at the behest of the intelligence ministry, as with Sigarchi.