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Two bloggers face possible death penalty

(RSF/IFEX) - Two netizens and human rights activists, Mehrdad Rahimi and Kouhyar Goudarzi, have been accused of wanting to wage "a war against God," in a similar manner to the two men who were executed on the morning of 28 January 2010 in Tehran on charges of "Mohareb" (being enemies of God). Both contributors to an opposition website, Rahimi and Goudarzi are also facing a possible death penalty.

"The authorities have shown they will no longer content themselves with just arresting and convicting in order to put pressure on human rights activists and those who contest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection," Reporters Without Borders said. "Today they have demonstrated that they intend to actually execute 'Mohareb'. There is great danger that there will be more executions. How many deaths will be needed for the international community to intervene?"

Rahimi, who edits the Shahidayeshahr blog ( http://shahidayeshahr.blogfa.com/ ), and Goudarzi, who keeps his own blog ( http://kouhyar.wordpress.com/ ), are both members of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, which was created by students and bloggers to relay information about the crackdown that followed the disputed 12 June 2009 presidential election.

Tehran state prosecutor Abass Jafari Dolatabadi declared on 22 January 2010 that this committee was an offshoot of the outlawed People's Mujahedeen Organisation and that any collaboration with its website was therefore banned.

Other bloggers who are members of the committee have also been arrested in recent weeks: Parisa Kakei was arrested on 2 January; Shiva Nazar Ahari was arrested on 24 December; and Said Kanaki and Said Jalali were arrested on 1 December. They are all still being held in Section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison and are being subjected to considerable pressure to name other members of the committee and to call for it to be disbanded.

Reporters Without Borders also warns Iranians about the "mirror-sites" being used by the authorities to trap Internet users. Imitating the websites of foreign political organisation and news media, they invite visitors to send emails and videos about demonstrations or to post comments, and are used by the authorities to gather evidence to support charges of spying for foreign organisations.

Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile learned that Mansoureh Shojaii, a contributor to women's rights websites, and Mohammed Reza Zohdi, the former editor of the now-closed newspaper "Arya", a member of the Committee for the Defence of Press Freedom and a contributor to several reformist newspapers, were both released from Section 209 of Evin prison on 23 December. Shojaii had been held for 22 days while Zohdi had been held for 19 days.

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