Our friend Hamid Tehrani has told us that Omid Reza Misayafi has died in prison in Iran. Omid was sentenced in December to two and a half years in prison for “insulting” Iranian religious leaders.
“(T)he reason for his death,” says Hamid, “has not been announced but he was in very bad psychological condition.”
Considering torture and other types of mistreatment are par for the course for free speech prisoners in Iranian prisons, Omid’s death may well have been a direct result of Iranian government actions. Considering the government usually places bloggers in prison with the most dangerous criminals, his death may only have been an indirect result. Either way, the men of the government of Iran and its prisons have a lot to answer for.
In the meantime, for what it’s worth, our heartfelt condolences go out to Omid’s family. They’ve killed one of us.
From CPJ we have very disheartening news, they report in their annual prison census, freelancers mostly online journalists and bloggers make up 45% of all journalists currently in prison. China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea and Burma re the top five jailers of journalism practitioners in world, with China holding the ignominious first position for the 11th year running.
They say in part…
The number of online journalists in prison continued a decade-long rise, CPJ’s census found. At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail. Print reporters, editors, and photographers make up the next largest professional category, with 51 cases in 2009. Television and radio journalists and documentary filmmakers constitute the rest.
Here at CPB we have also tried our best to make know the importance of blogging and how it has come to affect how governments try to control withhold information from their citizens, the fact that more and more bloggers are being arrested is one we totally condemn, couple this with the fact that most have very little or no institutional support adds to an already precarious situation.
One not so pleasant example is China where of the 24 officially in prison at the moment, 22 are freelancers with almost all of the having been arrested and imprisoned because of blogging or publishing online.
We will strive to continue reporting, researching and writing on threats to online freedoms because at the end of the day, some bloggers can only rely on us to raise awareness on their plight.