Death penalty for Iranian blogger?

A Canadian-Iranian writer credited with starting the blogging movement in Iran faces the death penalty over his work, two watchdog groups said Sept. 23. Hossein Derakhshan was arrested after returning to Iran in November 2008 and charged with “collaborating with enemy states, creating propaganda against the Islamic regime, insulting religious sanctity, and creating propaganda for anti-revolutionary groups,” according to the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and PEN Canada. According to the two organizations, prosecutors are now calling for Derakhshan to face the death penalty after he was convicted by Tehran’s revolutionary court earlier this year. “The proposed sentence is a travesty,” said CJFE president Arnold Amber, calling on the Canadian government to intervene. (AFP, Sept. 23)

See our last posts on Iran and the politics of cyberspce.

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  1. Ahmadinejad’s hit parade keeps going
    Just as the above news was released, AP informs us (link added):

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized Western media for having a double standard in reporting on the case of an American woman facing the death penalty, a news agency reported Tuesday.

    Ahmadinejad accused the West of launching a “heavy propaganda” campaign against the case of an Iranian woman who had been sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery but failing to react with outrage over the imminent execution of Teresa Lewis in Virginia, according to state-run IRNA.

    Lewis is a Virginia woman due to be put to death by injection on Thursday for using sex and money to persuade two men to kill her husband and her stepson to collect on life insurance policies. She would be the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly a century, and the first U.S. execution of a woman in five years.

    Ahmadinejad noted that “millions of Internet pages” have been devoted to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose stoning sentence was suspended in July and her case put under review.

    We would love to see a campaign to halt the execution of Teresa Lewis, but Ahmadinejad isn’t doing her any favors by exploiting her execution to justify those of his own regime—on considerably lesser charges than murder. Meanwhile, the US and 33 other delegations walked out as Ahmadinejad regaled the UN General Assembly Sept. 23 with his 9-11 conspiracy theories (a theme he has voiced before, and repeatedly). The New York Times informs us His Excellency speculated “that some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.”

  2. Idiot leftists schmooze Ahmadinejad
    The below Sept. 23 story is from Fight Back! News, which has the kicker “News and Views from the People’s Struggle.” Which “people’s struggle” would that be? Against the death penalty? Against stoning women to death? Against nuclear power? Against economic austerity? Against union-busting? Against religious fundamentalism? Against homophobia? Against persecution of minorities?

    U.S. progressives meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    New York, NY – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met here, September 21, with 100 leaders and representatives of anti-war, labor, alternative media and Iranian and Palestinian solidarity organizations. Among the participants were Sarah Martin, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Margaret Sarfehjooy, board member of the Minneapolis-based Women Against Military Madness, former attorney general Ramsey Clark, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Sara Flounders from the International Action Center, Brian Becker of the ANSWER coalition, Ramona Africa of the Free Mumia Coalition and Amiri Baraka, poet and activist.

    The meeting was called by the president of Iran with the hope that a frank and honest exchange of views will help activists further the cause of peace between the people of Iran and the U.S.

    Specific demands raised include to oppose war, occupation and hostility worldwide; oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries; support the right to nuclear energy for all, but nuclear weapons for none; and to support dialogue, justice and equality among all countries in the UN.

    After listening intently to the statements of 22 of the participants, President Ahmadinejad said, “We have a treasure chest full of views. I agree with everything you have said and therefore you have spoken from my heart also. Now I will speak in my own way.”

    Did any of these folks (including Ramona Africa of the Free Mumia Coalition!) ask His Excellency a single question about, for instance, the numerous trade unionists on death row in the Islamic Republic? Fat chance. But wait, it gets better.

    He said that the source of war, capitalism, must be identified and pointed out. “Violent capitalism is based on superiority, hegemony and violation of rights.” He went on to say that one reason capitalists start wars is to fill up their pockets. They must empty their arsenals so they can build more weapons. As he said at a U.N. meeting earlier in the day, “Capitalism has come to an end. It has reached a deadlock. Its historical moment has ended and efforts to restore it won’t go very far.”

    He tells the dupes what they want to hear, secure in the knowledge that not one of them will take the time to read up on what is actually going on in Iran, which (as even a cursory review of the evidence will reveal) is a thoroughly oppressive capitalist state.

    See our last post on the foibles of the idiot left.