Iran Takes Another Step Toward Barbarism
As Iran's leader - our old friend Ahmadinejad - ratchets up the bravado to stare down any attacks on his country's nuclear facilities by Western forces, his country is showing its own colors by letting a Canadian citizen rot in its prisons.
As reported by the Toronto Star:
The strange saga of a Toronto-based blogger jailed in Iran on propaganda charges took an alarming twist Tuesday after his supporters said prosecutors requested the death penalty.
Hossein Derakhshan is known as the Iranian “blogfather” for launching the dissident Persian blogosphere — an act of defiance he committed from Toronto, where he lived for eight years after becoming a Canadian citizen.
Toronto was the launching pad for his most daring cyber-caper, when he visited Israel on his Canadian passport and blogged from inside Iran for a massive Persian-speaking web following.
“Hoder,” as Derakhshan calls himself online, was arrested after returning to Iran in the fall of 2008 and jailed for almost two years before facing trial this June. Family and supporters learned Monday night he could face execution.
Read the rest, with more from the Globe and Mail.
The issue isn't entirely one of dissident-versus-regime. After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2006, Derakhshan began to, curiously enough, support the regime he had previously been criticising. He defended Iran's nuclearization, among other regime decisions, and alienated many of his former dissident allies in the process.But, as Jesse Brown points out via Boing Boing:
There are many more details, of course. Details of good things he's done, like when he taught thousands of Iranians how to blog in their own language, and when he traveled to Israel to show his readers that Israelis were not their enemies. And there are details of lousy things he's done, like when he decided to support Ahmadinejad and and his nuclear arms program, and when he turned on peaceful friends and baited the media.
And there are details that muddy his case: he is also an Iranian citizen, and Iran doesn't recognize dual citizenship, and that makes it harder for Canada to do anything, and so they haven't tried.
But these details are irrelevant. "Hoder" is a Canadian citizen with the same rights as any other, and the fact that his country is sitting idle while he faces execution is a shame and an outrage.
Derekhshan's reasons are his own, however odd. But what we do know is that, despite 'negotiations', Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not been able to get Derakhshan released and sent back to Canada, mainly because Iran refuses to acknowledge dual citizenship.
The Ministry seems committed to continuing its efforts, but one wonders at the uselessness of the whole process. It looks like Iran has got Derakhshan, and will do what it likes with him, as its descent into the barbarism of petty tyranny continues. Shame and outrage indeed.
Walker Morrow is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist.