Ahmadinejad Defends Saberi and the BlogfatherApril 19th, 2009 — Chris Van Buren
In an unexpected move, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has publicly called on the Iranian judiciary to respect the legal rights of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi and Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan. Saberi was recently sentenced to eight years in prison by Iran’s secretive Revolutionary Court. Derakshan, known in Iran as the “Blogfather” is currently being held on charges of spying for Israel.
As reported by Reuters, the letter read:
“Based on the president’s insistence, please make sure that all the legal stages about the mentioned people be based on justice,” it said … and you personally make sure that the accused people enjoy all freedoms and legal rights to defend themselves and their rights are not violated.”
The politics of the gesture are not entirely clear, and Ahmadinejad may not ultimately be successful in cajoling the independent Iranian judiciary, but this is still welcome news and a sliver of hope that the detention of journalists on trumped up national security charges cannot be business as usual.
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