This is a repost of a story which appeared in many newspapers around the globe tonight.
T.O. blogger faces death
Charged in native Iran with being Israeli spy
Last Updated: 31st December 2008, 2:57am
A prominent Toronto blogger dubbed the "Blogfather" is facing execution in Iran after being detained for two months on accusations that he's a spy for Israel.
Hossein Derakshan, 33, a U of T sociology grad, has been in jail in his native land since the beginning of November when he was arrested at Tehran airport entering the country.
The charges were confirmed in Iran yesterday by judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi who said Derakhshan was being held under orders from the Revolutionary Court.
He defied Iranian laws in 2006 when he made a high-profile visit to Israel.
"Too bad, I don't care," Derakshan blogged later. "I'm a citizen of Canada and I have the right to visit any country I want."
He moved to Toronto from Iran in 2000 and lived here for about six years during which time he obtained Canadian citizenship. He is now finishing a degree at the University of London -- School of Oriental and African Studies.
Syrus Amirshahi, president of the Iranian Association of Ontario, said hundreds of people are being detained in Iran without charges or counsel.
"This is a very serious charge in Iran," Amirshahi said.
"People who are found guilty of this crime are executed," he said.
Foreign affairs officials in Ottawa said they are aware of the case and consular officials are looking into it.
Derakshan on his "Editor: Myself" blog has defended Iran's right to possess nuclear weapons for defensive purposes and vowed to return to defend his homeland if it is attacked by the U.S.
He is credited with sparking the blogging revolution in Iran by publishing instructions in 2001 on how to use free online tools to type Persian characters. That country now has more than 800,000 bloggers.
Derakshan said he went to Israel as a "citizen journalist and peace activist" to show his "20,000 daily Iranian readers what Israel looks like."