Iranian bloggers demand release of the "blogfather"
We, the undersigned, view the
circumstances surrounding the Iranian authorities' arrest of Hossein Derakhshan
one of the most prominent Iranian bloggers, as extremely worrying. Derakhshan's
disappearance, detention at an unknown location, lack of access to his family
and attorneys, and the authorities' failure to provide clear information about
his potential charges is a source of concern for us.
The Iranian blogging community is one of the largest and most vibrant in the
world. From ordinary citizens to the President, a diverse and large number of
Iranians are engaged in blogging. These bloggers encompass a wide spectrum of
views and perspectives, and they play a vital role in open discussions of
social, cultural and political affairs.
Unfortunately, in recent years, numerous websites and blogs have been routinely
blocked by the authorities, and some bloggers have been harassed or detained.
Derakhshan's detention is but the latest episode in this ongoing saga and is
being viewed as an attempt to silence and intimidate the blogging community as a
Derakhshan's own position regarding a number of prisoners of conscience in
Iran has been a source of
contention among the blogging community and has caused many to distance
themselves from him. This, however, doesn't change the fact that the freedom of
expression is sacred for all not just the ones with whom we agree.
We therefore categorically condemn the circumstances surrounding Derakhshan's
arrest and detention and demand his immediate release.
Hossein Derakhshan was arrested
at his family home in Tehran on 1 November. Denied access to his
family and to legal representation, no one knows where Hossein
Derakhshan is held. Although he has been allowed to make four
telephone calls to his home, each lasting around one minute, the
last was in late November. He may face torture or other
ill-treatment while held incommunicado.
LONDON (Reuters) - Iranian Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi
called on Monday for the release of a pioneering Iranian blogger,
who is reported to have been arrested on suspicion of spying for