Iran: World's Youngest Detained Blogger on Trial

The Iranian government is not only world-class when it comes to persecuting bloggers, they have also set numerous records: from the first jailed blogger in history, to the first blogger to die in prison. Unfortunately, a new record can now be added to the list of Iran's repressive achievements: the youngest blogger to be detained and put on trial.

Reporters without Borders (RSF) writes that the world’s youngest detained blogger, 18-year-old Navid Mohebbi, is currently being tried behind closed doors before a revolutionary court in the northern city of Amol. His lawyer is not being allowed to attend the trial, which began on 14 November. According to RSF, Mohebbi has been accused of “activities contrary to national security” and “insulting the Islamic Republic’s founder and current leader (…) by means of foreign media.”

Change for Equality, a website supporting women's rights, says more than 250 bloggers and women’s and civil rights activists have issued a statement demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Navid Mohebbi.

As a young blogger, Navid shares both his life and ideas in his blog. In 2009, he wrote about doing sports, going to school, and even having a small operation on his nose. “It has little bit deviation, but it can become little bit nicer.” Navid wrote that he and his friends studied hard for university entry exams and that he read books on civil disobedience, democracy and The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.

He was finally accepted to Tehran’s Azad University to study political science.

Now he is being held in the public ward of the prison in the city of Sari.

In March 2009, Navid wrote [fa] in his blog:

“…the intelligence office in Amol called my father and threatened me. These calls are illegal. Security forces in all countries are supposed to protect the citizens but here they are doing the opposite.

In one post from last winter, Navid wrote that he was arrested for no reason in the street. After a few hours he was released when he gave away his email and blog passwords. He was also ordered to report for interrogation at any moment he was called.

Navid writes [fa]:

The law is what your interrogator decides it to be. Your final judgment depends on Ministry of Intelligence orders rather than the country's judicial system… Then I came home and asked myself, when they will ever want to improve their behaviour.

The answer to Navid's question is unfortunately, not so soon.

Iran has a long history of persecuting bloggers and sentencing them to long years of jail – and in once case alsowhip lashes.

Read more on the Iran page of Threatened Voices.


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