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Iranian blogger sentenced to 14 years for political opinions

[JURIST] Prominent Iranian blogger Arash Cigarchi was sentenced to a 14-year prison term Wednesday for publishing critiques of the government on his online blog and in the international press. Cigarchi was charged with aiding and abetting hostile governments and opposition groups, endangering national security and insulting Iran's leaders. The trial, part of recent crackdown on free speech by the Iranian government, was highly criticized by human rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] because it was held in private without Cigarchi's lawyer present. In a HRW statement [text], Widney Brown, HRW deputy program director, commented, "This outrageous sentence follows the sham trial of a person who should never have been arrested in the first place." Reuters has more. The Iran Press News has local coverage.

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