In reaction to the sentencing of Hossein Derakhshan to over 19 years in jail by a Tehran court, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement today (30 September):
“I was shocked to learn of Hossein Derakhshan’s conviction. He is one of the most prominent Iranian bloggers and has for many years called for reforms in his country.
His sentencing, especially since the proceedings themselves were doubtful from a rule-of-law point of view, is one more blow to freedom of opinion and the press in Iran. It is part of the ongoing massive campaign against human rights activists, reformists, journalists and bloggers.
I call upon the Iranian Government to honour its international obligations, in particular the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to work towards Hossein Derakhshan’s immediate release”.
Hossein Derakhshan is one of the first and best-known Iranian internet activists. His blog, which has appeared since 1999, is committed to freedom of opinion and the press in his country, while at the same time criticizing Western policies.
He was arrested in Tehran on 1 November 2008 on his return to Iran. After almost two years’ detention, Mr Derakhshan has now been sentenced to over 19 years in prison for “creating propaganda, insulting religious sanctity and collaborating with enemy governments”.