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Blogger reportedly arrested on allegations of spying for Israel

(CJFE/IFEX) - The following is a 25 November 2008 CJFE press release:

CJFE Concerned about the Reported Arrest of an Iranian Blogger

(Toronto, November 25, 2008) Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is concerned by reports over the past week that blogger Hossein Derakhshan may have been arrested in Iran and has not been heard from.

The news of his arrest comes from an Iranian website called Jahan News which is said to have connections to the Iranian government, but which is not known for its reliability. The site also reported that he had been charged with spying for Israel. The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) website also published what appear to be quotes from 'Hossein D'. CJFE has been unable to confirm these reports and currently no official announcement has been made by the government of Iran.

Derakhshan, known online as 'Hoder', is known as the 'blogfather' in Iran for his work as a pioneer in Iran's blogging movement. His personal blogs can be found at and , although he has not written on them since November 1, 2008.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Derakhshan moved to Canada in 2000 and lived here for several years; he most recently lived in England, and arrived in Iran several weeks ago. Derakhshan, who holds both Canadian and Iranian citizenships, has travelled on at least two occasions to Israel on his Canadian passport; Iranians are forbidden to travel to Israel. Derakhshan reported that his Iranian passport had been confiscated by officials upon entering Iran.

CJFE condemns the illegal arrest of all journalists and writers. We will continue to monitor this case, and call upon the Iranian government to confirm Hossein Derakhshan's whereabouts and status. If it is confirmed that Derakhshan has been arrested for exercising his right to free expression, we call for his release.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is an association of more than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and around the world. CJFE has a history of work on cases pertaining to media law and freedom of expression.

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