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Iranian blogger given 14 years

An Iranian newspaper editor has been sentenced to 14 years in prison after comments made online criticising his government's treatment of bloggers
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

An Iranian blogger has been jailed for 14 years -- for criticising Iran's arrest of other online journal keepers.

Arash Sigarchi was convicted this week for charges including espionage and insulting Iran's leaders, after the 28-year-old criticised the Iranian government and its treatment of bloggers on his own blog.

Sigarchi worked as a newspaper editor before his arrest and had also been arrested last year after he posted a pictures of demonstration by Iranians whose family members had been executed in 1989, according to Reporters Without Borders. The government had also blocked Iranian citizens from accessing the blog, the organisation said.

Another blogger who spoke out against the government, Motjaba Saminejad, remains in custody. Saminejad had been using his blog to spread news of the arrests of other bloggers within Iran.

The Iranian government has already locked up a number of bloggers and Internet journalists who have criticised the state through their online postings, as well as arresting political activists.

The sentence passed on Sigarchi is thought to be a harsh warning to other would-be bloggers and is intended to restrict the freedom of the media, human rights groups believe.

News of the arrest follows a day of action by the blogging community to draw attention to Saminejad and Sigarchi's treatment.

Bloggers across the Web were asked to add a Free Mojtaba and Arash banner to their blogs and contact Iranian government representatives.

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