Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ahmadinejad intervening in Saberi's and Derakhshan's cases - unusual but encouraging

Apparently, Ahmadinejad has sent a letter to Tehran's prosecutor requesting that Roxana Saberi - who was convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday - must have her legal rights to defend herself. This is a first.

What does this mean? Is this a signal to the west, especially the U.S.? Is this a ploy? Is IRI showing signs of softening up? Or is this simply a showdown between different factions of the government in a presidential elections year? You tell me. I welcome your comments.

In the letter, Ahmadinejad has also mentioned Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian blogger who has been jailed in Iran since November. Derakhshan is an Iranian-born blogger who left Iran a few years ago to live in Canada. While he constantly criticized the policies of the government on his blog, he was also vehemently against a military attack against Iran and was constantly accused to be a an IRI spy by anti-IRI groups outside Iran. He challenged the Iranian government's travel ban to Israel by visiting Tel Aviv and wrote about it in his blog. Last year, he went to Iran for a visit and was arrested. Derakhshan is also famous for being the "godfather of Iran's blog movement."

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