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One blogger freed on bail, another denied parole

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has learned that blogger Mehdi Khazali was released on bail of 200 million toman (150 euros) on 12 November 2010 pending trial. The son of Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali, an influential member of the Council of Guardians of the Iranian Constitution for the past 30 years, he was arrested on 13 October after responding to a summons to report to the Tehran prosecutor's office.

He is charged with "activities contrary to national security" and "publishing false information aimed at disrupting public order." He had been very critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the government on his website "Baran" ( http://www.drkhazali.com/ ) for the past year.

Reporters Without Borders is meanwhile concerned about jailed blogger Mohammad Pour Abdullah, whose request for release on parole after completing half of his three-year sentence was recently rejected.

The editor of the blog "Pishro" (Avant-garde) was arrested on 12 January 2009 and initially sentenced by a Tehran revolutionary court on 14 December 2009 to six years in prison on a charge of anti-government propaganda and "activities contrary to national security." The sentence was reduced to three years by a Tehran appeal court two months later. Under Iranian law, prisoners can be freed on parole after completing half of their sentence.

A total of 25 journalists and nine netizens are currently detained in Iran, which is ranked 175th out of 178 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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