a few years ago i met hossein derakhsham at the world culture forum at the dead sea in jordan. we kept in touch on and off over the past few years since then. sometimes commenting on each other’s blogs (his english blog is called hoder). a month or so ago he gave my name and contact information to a colleague at press tv in tehran, which is why i’ve been on their program “middle east today” a couple of times in the past couple of months.
i can’t remember any conversation i had with hossein in particular, but i know that i was with my friend abed, a palestinian refugee from aida refugee camp in beit lahem. i do know that we had many conversations about palestine and i definitely remember he was like minded. so it’s been worrisome to read that upon moving back to tehran he has been arrested and even more so that he has been accused of spying for the zionist state. but honestly all of these stories in the media seem suspicious to me. i hope fatima’s theory is correct: that this whole scenario is being played out to protect him because he did travel to the zionist state on his canadian passport.
fellow blogger jillian york reported this about hossein in the huffington post:
It was reported this morning that Iranian-Canadian blogger and activist Hossein Derakshan, known as the “Godfather of the Iranian blogosphere”, was arrested in Tehran and charged with spying for Israel. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
apparently, a confession has now been released as well as brian whitaker reports in the guardian:
There is still no official confirmation or denial of Derakhshan’s reported arrest – which is not unusual in Iran. The most likely opportunity for a statement would be the next press conference given by Alireza Jamshidi, the judiciary spokesperson, possibly on Tuesday.
On the same day that Fahan News published its story the official news agency, IRNA, circulated what at first sight looks like an interview with “Hossein D”, who we can safely assume to be Hossein Derakhshan.
Cif commenter Bizhan has helpfully provided this translation/summary:
The article reports a person named “Hossein D” to have recently stated that many of his friends who were working as journalists in the reformist newspapers, were persuaded about three years ago in exchange for financial support to go abroad and from there write articles against top religious figures and the lack of freedom in the Islamic Republic. They are now living in abject penury.
Hossein D says many of these dupes are taking painkillers and some have attempted suicide on a couple of occasions. He also says that apart from two or three people whom he did not know how they were able to support themselves the rest of them were working as waiters, drivers and barbers. The interesting thing is, he says, that the anti-Iran websites were publishing screeds under their bylines and photographs, against the Islamic Republic of Iran and Ahmadinejad and giving them a small fee!
Hossein D made the point that the westerners always wanted them to work against the supreme jurisprudence, belief in the Hidden Imam and fundamentalists (principalists). If they refused they would say that they would publish some documentary evidence which would ruin them. Some of his friends are living under extreme financial and mental stress and perhaps wish they were dead.
The article only says that Hossein D made the remarks “recently” and does not say under what circumstances. Did he make these statements of his own accord? They are not out of character and may well reflect his genuine feelings at the time he left for Iran.
global voices advocacy and internet sans frontièreshave posted notices about hossein and tracking his case. there is a facebook group as well for people who want to follow the story and hopefully find a way to help.