An Iranian-Canadian blogger who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for his writings has been pardoned by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The news of the pardon of Hossein Derakhshan, who helped ignite blogging in Iran, was first reported by Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency. It said authorities informed Hossein Derakhshan about his amnesty late Wednesday, when he returned to Tehran’s Evin prison from one of his occasional leaves.
“I was released after six years,” said a brief message posted on Hossein Derakhshan’s Google Plus web page. “I thank God. Very grateful to the Ayatollah Khamenei.”
The posting also thanked his supporters and his family, including his parents, his brother and sister and his wife.
The ISNA report did not elaborate on the reason for Hossein Derakhshan’s pardon by Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters. However, in the past, Hossein Derakhshan’s parents have reportedly sent letters to Khamenei seeking their son’s pardon.
A spokesman for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said in an email to CBC News that it was “aware of reports that a Canadian citizen has been pardoned in Iran.”
But François Lasalle said Canada remains concerned about human rights abuses in Iran that target women, religious minorities “or anyone who peacefully exercises their fundamental rights to freedom of speech, assembly and association” and noted that “hundreds remain imprisoned [in] Iran.”
“Canada will continue to call on Iranian authorities to respect their international human rights obligations, and meet the international norms of due process and transparency,” Lasalle said.
Inspired proliferation of Iranian blogs
Hossein Derakhshan moved to Canada in 2000 and studied sociology at the University of Toronto.
Hossein Derakhshan, the founder of one of the first Farsi-language blogs, was first detained in 2008. In 2010, a court sentenced him to more than 19½ years in prison for his writings. The term was later dropped to 17 years.
Hossein Derakhshan, now 39, helped ignite blogging in Iran by posting online simple instructions on how to create sites in Farsi in 2001, earning the moniker “the Blogfather.” The subsequent flourishing of blogs by Iranians at home and abroad gave the country’s reform movement a crucial online platform.
Writing from Canada, Hossein Derakhshan was initially a critic of Iran’s clerical leadership. Using his Canadian passport, he visited Israel, Iran’s archenemy, in 2006, saying he wanted to act as a bridge between the two peoples.
Hossein Derakhshan was convicted on charges of co-operation with hostile countries — a reference to the Israel visit — spreading propaganda against the ruling establishment, promotion of counter-revolutionary groups and insulting Islamic thought and religious figures.
But he later became a vocal supporter of former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, praising him for standing up to the West and criticizing regime opponents.
Jan 05, 2018 Comments Off on Iran Stages Pro-Government Rallies, Cleric Urges Firm Punishment for Protest Leaders
Nov 29, 2017 Comments Off on Iran Reshapes the Middle East
Nov 21, 2017 Comments Off on Saudi Arabia May Have Just Gifted Lebanon to Iran
Oct 30, 2017 Comments Off on Iran to ‘start building two new $10billion nuclear plants with Russia tomorrow’
Jan 10, 2018 Comments Off on Iran’s Regime at War With Itself
Jan 04, 2018 Comments Off on Why the young people of Iran are rising up in protest
Jan 02, 2018 Comments Off on Iran’s Supreme Leader Blames ‘Enemies’ for Deadly Protests
Jan 01, 2018 Comments Off on Death Toll Climbs As Anti-Government Protests Continue In Iran
Jan 10, 2018 Comments Off on Iran’s Regime at War With ItselfIran’s Regime at War With Itself Public agitation in Iran has many wondering about the fate of the almost 40-year Islamic republic. As evident from the way in which the latest wave of protests has been contained,...
Jan 04, 2018 Comments Off on Why the young people of Iran are rising up in protestWhy the young people of Iran are rising up in protest Roozbeh Mirebrahimi is an Iranian-American journalist living in New York City. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Persian-language publication Iran in the...
Jul 14, 2016 Comments Off on Corps’ one hundred thousand of triggered missiles in Lebanon:An official Israel-threatening by CorpsIran Briefing: Since August 7, 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadhan as “Quds Day”, the Islamic Republic has always tried to hold an imposing ceremony by using state resources as well as requiring people’s involvement. This year’s Quds march had fundamental...