The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today that the conviction and sentencing of Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan to 19.5 years in prison included academic connections as a basis for his charges, and should be overturned by an appeals court.
The Campaign further demanded the immediate suspension of Judge Abolghassem Salavati, who issued Derakhshan’s verdict, on grounds of deviation from judicial standards and procedures in this and numerous other cases. An informed source told the Campaign that Derakhshan’s lawyer did not have full access to his file in order to review its details.
“The Iranian justice system has become the laughing stock of the world with such a verdict and sentence,” stated Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.
“We appeal to the Judiciary to right this wrong, and to suspend Judge Salavati who has amassed a long record of similar miscarriages of justice,” he said.
Sources close to Derakhshan’s family told the Campaign that a portion of evidence for Derakhshan’s alleged crimes consisted of a letter of recommendation for university written by Gary Sick, a Columbia University faculty member, that intelligence authorities claim demonstrates problematic connections with a hostile state. The content of Derakhshan’s blog, operated outside of Iran, is another basis for his harsh sentence.