Ottawa is ratcheting up pressure on the Iranian government to release Hossein Derakhshan, the controversial Iranian-Canadian “blogfather” who was sentenced to 19½ years in prison by a revolutionary court.
“If true, this is completely unacceptable and unjustifiable,” Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon said in a statement.
“Canada believes that no one should be punished anywhere for simply exercising one’s inherent right to freedom of expression,” he said, adding Canadian officials are still seeking consular access to Mr. Derakhshan, who is being held in a revolutionary guard jail within Iran’s notorious Evin prison complex.
Mr. Derakhshan, 35, is widely known by his online name “Hoder.” He was born in Iran, but moved to Canada and became a Canadian citizen in early adulthood. He is a staunch advocate of free expression in Iran, and became known as the “blogfather” of Iran’s on-line community for training pro-democracy advocates to blog and podcast in the late nineties. Later, he apologized for his dissenting views, and emerged as an unlikely supporter of the regime, at one point comparing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a modern-day Che Guevara.