March 20, 2009

Jailed blogger dies in Iran

Per BBC, Omid Mirsayafi, a blogger jailed for insulting the country's ruling clerics, died in Evin prison in Tehran. Mirsayafi was 29 years old.

His lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, said prison officials told him his client committed suicide. The Committe to Protect Jounalist (CPJ) joined Dakhah in requesting an immediate inquiry; Iranian officials have not yet commented.

At least five Iranian journalists are incarcerated, according to CPJ, as well as Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi and Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan. In 2003 Iranian-Canadian photojournalist died after three weeks in Evin prison, which is notorious for its numerous political and journalistic inmates.

The Twittersphere responded with emotions from gratitude to outrage to worry.

@harisn (Lahore, Pakistan): RT @guppu: Bloggers in free countries be happy you have freedom of speech, "Iran blogger dies in Evin prison" so sad

@LMDeaton (Cincinnati, OH): A reminder we shouldn't take for granted our right to free speech. RT @KarenRussell: Blogger jailed in Iran is dead

@writepudding (Los Angeles, CA): Glad my parents packed up & moved out of Iran before I could talk. Can't imagine being a journalist in a country where bloggers are jailed.

@EditorJacquie (New Jersey): Blogger dead in jail in Iran. We should be much more outraged by this than we are.

@ourworldoursay (Brighton, UK): Hold Iran Responsible for Death of Blogger Mirsayafi in Prison -

@KathrinOutLoud (Philadelphia, PA): RT @RachelSterne: Jailed Blogger in Iran DEAD. Not Hossein 'Hoder' Derakhshan, but at first I was terrified. Where is he?

Meanwhile, Roxana Saberi's family and her home state of North Dakota pushed for her release.

@frontlineblog (Paddington, London, UK): Parents of Roxana Saberi, journalist arrested in Iran, write open letter to Iranian leaders -

@Journalism_info: ND House appeals for release of Fargo journalist imprisoned in Iran - Minneapolis Star Tribune: ND House appeals..

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