Saturday, October 22, 2005

Omid Sheikhan Sentenced to Lashes, Jail Time

Omid Sheikhan has been sentenced by the Iranian court to one year in prison and 124 lashes.

Omid was first arrested last year, confined for two months, including one in solitary confinement, and tortured, due to his blog which featured satire on the Iranian situation.

When he was brought to court on October 8 he faced different charges , due to the fact that even in the Iran judicial system it would have been difficult to convict him on charges relating to his blog. Instead, he faced, and was convicted on, charges stemming from "morals" violations, including "having unlawful relations, drinking wine, corruption of morals (for having a birthday party) and possessing satirical pictures of Iranian politicians."

Now this blogger in his early twenties will be beaten half to death and join Mojtaba Saminejad as a felon in the general prison population. The Iranian government should be as ashamed as the Iranian people no doubt already are. Please sign the petition for Omid.

Omid now faces a second trial, presumably an appeal, not unlike Arash Sigarchi's.

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Please, if you appreciate your freedom to speak as you plese, protest as you please, talk about politicians as you please, sign the petition. We must put pressure on the Iran government to stop imprisoning people due to speech. If we do not stand up for our fellow bloggers, who will be left to stand up for us? Why would they bother?

Please take into consideration that the Iranian government has listened to outer pressure before. They are very concerned about how the world perceives them. Your voice does matter. It does count, but only if it is expressed. Thank you.

Hat tip to Committee to Protect Bloggers.

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