Sakhi Rigi

Iran has sentenced Baluch blogger Sakhi Rigi to 20 years in prison for “publishing falsehoods and acting against national security,” according to Reporters Without Borders.

In an article called “Iranian Bloggers Denied Due Process,” the press rights organization says Rigi was arrested on June 18, 2009 in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan and is being held in Karon Prison in Ahvaz. Reporters Without Borders writes: “Torture was used to extract the confession used to convict him. His only crime is to have the same surname as Abdolmalek Rigi, the head of the Balochi armed opposition group Jundallah, whose execution on 20 June 2010 did not, however, lead to the blogger’s release.”

Earlier, Zahedan’s Prosecutor General told IRNA: “Sakhi Rigi, known as Saeed Baluch, has been sentenced to prison and exile for web and software activities promoting the aims of the terrorist group of Abdolmalek and disturbing public peace.”

Sakhi Rigi was accused of blogging extensively about convicted Baluchi journalist and social activist Ebrahim Mehrnahad, who was executed together with another prisoner in August of 2008. He was accused of enmity with God and corruption because of his membership and collaboration with Jundallah.

Reporters Without Borders also notes the case of Saeed Malekpour, another Iranian imprisoned in connection with internet activities. In November of 2009, Makekpour was sentenced to death for creating “pornographic and anti-Islamic site.” Malekpour’s death sentence was cancelled recently; however, the computer programmer, who is a Canadian resident, still remains behind bars in Iran.

Vahid Asghari, an IT engineering student studying in India, was arrested in 2008 at Tehran’s airport and, according to Reporters Without Borders, officials have tortured him in order to coerce him into making a series of self-incriminating confessions.

Yesterday, AFP reported that the 19-year sentence of Hossein Derakhshan, another Iranian blogger, has been upheld by the court of appeal.

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of computer experts and bloggers, and an end to sentencing such people without due process.