#Human Rights
Prime Minister Stephen Harper

The Canadian-Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan is currently serving a 19-and-a-half year prison sentence in Iran for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

PEN Canada urges the government of Canada to secure Hossein Derakhshan's immediate and unconditional release.

We, the undersigned, support PEN Canada in its call for the release of Hossein Derakhshan, the Canadian-Iranian blogger who has been detained by the Iranian authorities since November 2008 for exercising his universally guaranteed right to freedom of expression.

Derakhshan is also known as “the blogfather” for his pioneering blog and Farsi language blogging manual, which encouraged a whole generation of Iranians, both inside the country and elsewhere, to express their points of view online.

After being held in Evin prison for almost two years, Derakhshan was recently put on trial and received a prison sentence of more than 19 years in September 2010. Reports from former cell mates indicate that Derakhshan has been tortured while in prison and has been the subject of harsh interrogations.

PEN Canada calls on the government of Canada to hold Iran to its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and to support Iranian bloggers, journalists and writers so they can do their work without fear of imprisonment or reprisal.

Prison is no place for Hossein Derakhshan or for the dozens of other writers, journalists, academics and bloggers who continue to languish in Iran’s jails.

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The Free Hossein Derakhshan petition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was written by PEN Canada and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.