What I Did to Deserve 13 Years and 74 Lashes

Mazair Bahari explains the sentence handed down in absentia
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2010 11:47 AM CDT
Journalist Maziar Bahari is shown in this undated photo from Newsweek.   (AP Photo/Newsweek)
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(Newser) Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari learned this week that, without telling him or his lawyers, an Iranian court had sentenced him to 13 years in prison and 74 lashes. Bahari won't serve that sentence—he was released from Iranian jail in October, after 118 days of interrogation and torture, and is now safe in London—but he examined his supposed crimes anyway. “They will tell you more about the regime than about me,” he explains. They include:

  • Unlawful assembly and conspiring against the state: For reporting on peaceful election protests.
  • Propagandizing against the system: For quoting an opposition member in a Newsweek article.
  • Insulting the Supreme Leader: For comparing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the Shah in a private email. “The agents of Khamenei who tortured me said that I was implying that Khamenei was a dictator.”
  • Disrupting public order: For reporting on a clash between Basij forces and young people. “I was told that reporting the incident incited the public to rise against the government.”
  • Insulting the president: Someone put a photo of a young man kissing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Bahari's Facebook wall. “My interrogator said that the picture implied that Ahmadinejad was a homosexual, and that it was an insult.”

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