Iranian blogger sentenced to 14 years
February 24, 2005
An Iranian blogger has been jailed for 14 years - for criticising Iran's arrest of other online journal keepers.
Arash Sigarchi was convicted this week for charges against the state, including espionage and insulting Iran's leaders, after the 28-year-old criticised the Iranian government and its treatment of web log writers on his own blog.
Sigarchi worked as a newspaper editor before his arrest and had also been arrested last year after he posted a pictures of demonstration by Iranians whose family members had been executed in 1989, according to Reporters Without Borders. The government had also blocked Iranian citizens from accessing the blog, the organisation said.
Another blogger who spoke out against the government, Motjaba Saminejad, remains in custody. Saminejad had been using his blog to spread news of the arrests of other bloggers within Iran.
The Iranian government has already locked up a number of bloggers and internet journalists who have criticised the state through their online postings, as well as arresting political activists.
The sentence passed on Sigarchi is thought to be a harsh warning to other would-be bloggers and is intended to restrict the freedom of the media, human rights groups believe.
News of the arrest follows a day of action by the blogging community to draw attention to Saminejad and Sigarchi's treatment.
Bloggers across the web were asked to add a Free Mojtaba and Arash banner to their blogs and contact Iranian government representatives.
Six hours is not really a long time. It won't be easy to hold a protest lasting that long. If the Tehranian people come out in large numbers from nearly every neighborhood - say, a small but sizeable protest in each neighborhood, burough, etc. The regime security elements would soon recognize that they have a large-scale protest going on. If enough people get out into the streets - say, 100,000 (not too unreasonable, I think) - then the liberation of the country might soon occur. Of course, there is also the frightening possibility that the regime upon the realization that this hypothetical protest cannot be controlled semi-peacefully - that the regime would try to kill all of the protestors. In a technical sense, it would be fairly easy. There would be consequences to the slaughter of tens of thousands of Iranians - the city would be a mess from a practical standpoint. Bush would all but declare war on Iran within hours, I believe.
I know, the situation I envision is beyond horrible. But I have always believed that Tehran will never give up. I have no reason to believe that they would be opposed to killing their own people so that they could stay in power for a few more days.
The six hours is probably a reference to the belief that if a protest can go on for six hours, then all peaceful countermeasures will likely have been exhausted.
It's great seeing all these protests in Iran. Hopefully, one day soon, there will be an explosion of a protest.
I recently said that I wasn't convinced of the democratic movements in Palestine. Well, I must say, it's really looking good, beyond my own expectations (which were quite low, I must admit)!
It really is stunning to realize what's been going on since 2001. We have indeed unleashed the fire of freedom, like the president said. Five years ago, you would have been laughed out of the room if you suggested that democracy would sweep through the Middle East very, very soon. More than that, they would have called you insane. And back then, it would have been difficult to disagree with such people. But not today.
I wonder if bin Laden regrets at all the events of 9-11-01? Look at what has happened since.