Derakhshan case: When keeping quiet does not work
Committee to Protect Journalists / Robert Mahoney

The severity of the nearly 20-year jail sentence handed down to veteran Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan, left, has shocked many exiled Iranian journalists and bloggers with whom I've spoken. It's also reinforced their belief that the best way to help jailed colleagues is not through quiet diplomacy but by making a lot of noise.
Derakhshan's case made headlines last month when human rights groups reported that prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for the writer, dubbed the "blogfather" of Farsi blogging, on a raft of antistate charges. In the end, a Revolutionary Court sentenced the Iranian-Canadian dual national to nineteen and a half years in prison. His family and lawyer learned of the verdict through the news media.
Derakhshan's case does not fit the mold of oppressed Iranian online journalists and bloggers. He talked openly in his blog about his visits to Israel and publicly criticized the government in Tehran and later the reformist movement.
In 2008, Derakhshan returned to Tehran under circumstances that are still not fully explained.

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