From Human Rights First:
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.