Free Arash Sigarchi and the Bahraini 3
The European Union lately has been sending signals to the US to lay off the pressure against Iran, for reasons that included the popular "it is a democracy in its own way" and the always popular and classic "we all have to be sensitive to other countries cultures and ways of doing things". In a way to show the world how their model of islamist democracy functions, the Iranian government decided to throw Arash Sigarchi - an Iranian Blogger and a human rights activist-in jail for 14 years for -get this- "espionage and insulting the country's leaders." Go here for the story and to take action: Iranian blogger and human rights activist Arash Sigarchi was sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of Iranian blogger and human rights activist Arash Sigarchi was sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of "espionage and insulting the country's leaders." His harsh sentence, given by a Revolutionary Court on February 22, 2005, sends a stark message to other bloggers and independent government critics in Iran. Arash Sigarchi is editor of a daily newspaper in the province of Gilan and has run a social and political blog for the past three years. His blog has from time to time dealt with human rights issues and criticized government policies. For example, in August 2004 he posted an article about a demonstration in Tehran by families of victims of mass executions that took place in 1999. He was imprisoned for a few days after posting this story. At the time of his arrest he had been protesting the harassment, detention and mistreatment of more than 20 journalists and bloggers in Iran in recent months. Arash Sigarchi's imprisonment is part of a continuing wave of repression directed against independent critics of the Iranian government's human rights practices. The government is especially intolerant of journalists and activists who expose its involvement in mass executions and other serious violations of human rights. Democratic indeed! In a related story, and in a completly different arab islamic country, the three Bahrainis detained for links to a banned Internet forum were ordered released on bail Sunday, but the trio refused to pay and chose instead to stay behind bars, in a gesture that probably conveys that it is all the same to them: Police detained Ali Abdelimam, Mohammed al-Mousawi and Hussein Youssef last month for links to the Web site www.bahrainonline.org, an Arabic-language forum for views on a range of subjects. What are the charges? The three have been accused of criticizing the royal family, inciting hatred of the government, spreading false news and rumors that could destabilize the nation, and violating the press code. The public prosecutor offered bail of $2,652 each. ``My clients have rejected the bail ... they have decided to stay in prison instead,'' said their lawyer, Ahmed al-Arayed. The detainees began a hunger strike Saturday. Ali Abdelimam is the founder and manager of the Web site, which has posted reports and photos of demonstrations in Bahrain. The government banned it in 2002, but it remains easily accessible to people outside Bahrain, while those inside the tiny island country reach it through foreign-based Internet Service Providers. Bahrain's king, Sheik Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has taken steps toward democratic reform since coming to power in 1999, including reinstating parliamentary elections, pardoning political prisoners and allowing exiles to return. Critics charge his reforms do not go far enough. LOL, you think? On a personal note, things don't look too good for me, huh? Which do you think i will be arrested for? Insulting the country's leaders? Or will it be spreading news and rumors that could stabalize the nation? Or the classic espionage charge? Maybe they will just throw me in jail for "tarnishing Egypt's reputation". It's an actual crime around here ya know! Hmm.... Which do you think it will be? send in comments and e-mails with your favorite " let's lock Sam up" charges and i will post the winner charge online. Ok? Sweet!