In another verdict against an Iranian blogger, the judiciary has sentenced Peyman Roshanzamir to seven months in prison for “insulting the leader.”
The Jaras opposition website reports that Roshanzamir is charged with “insulting the leader” in an article entitled “Legal Ways of Changing the Leader.” He is also charged with adding his signature to a letter addressed to the Islamic Republic leader about the death of Omidreza Mirsayafi, a blogger and journalist who died in Evin Prison in 2009 while serving a two-and-a-half-year prison term for “insulting the leader.”
Roshanzamir denied the charge of insulting the leader, saying: “They are angry about the articles I’ve written and the things I’ve said and they call their anger and my respectful criticism ‘insulting the leader.’”
He added: “The constitution stresses that in the case of political prisoners, a jury must make a decision, and the government cannot be both the plaintiff and the judge… but now, against the provisions of the constitution, sentences are issued without a jury present.”
Roshanzamir said that since his trial was held behind closed doors, he refrained from defending himself and emphasized the “court procedures were in blatant violation of the Article 168 of the constitution and therefore illegal.”
Article 168 of the Iranian constitution maintains that political and media offences must be processed in open court and in the presence of a jury.
Hossein Derakhshan and Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki are two other bloggers who have been imprisoned in Iran for their media activities.
Derakhshan has been sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison for “collaboration with enemy states, propaganda against the regime, propaganda for anti-Revolutionary groups, insulting sanctities and launching obscene websites.”
Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, who was arrested in the post-election protests that disputed the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Last June, Reporters Without Borders announced that Sakhi Rigi, a Baluch blogger, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “publishing falsehoods and acting against national security.”
Reportedly, the severity of his prison term was due to the fact that he shares a last name with the leader of the Baluchi militant group Jundallah, Abdolmalek Rigi, who was hanged by the Islamic Republic in March 2009.