Sina Motallebi update: Freed
: Well, I hope this is good news: Sina Motallebi is being freed from prison.
But in the mirror-on-mirror world of Iran, I fear it’s more complicated than that.
Sina’s wife, farnaz, has written in her persian weblog that she was told in the court that Sina might be released tomorrow. She wrote that Sina had confrimed the news by a phone call later himself.
I am just hopeful that they don’t make him deny his thoughts and activities before he got arrested. You know, this is a common hard-liner’s method that after releasing prisoners, they force them to say things against themselves and their old friends and give them some advice. But I really hope that this woudn’t happen again for Sina. If it does not happen, I’ll be sure that international pressure on hard-liners has been fruitfull.
The mullah’s main goal will be met in any case: Every weblogger is now on warning. But then again, the mullahs are on warning, too: The whole online world is watching.
: Pedram adds:
Needless to say, this is certainly good news but hardly the end of this episode. Iranian ISP’s are being forced to “filter” hundreds of sites and bloggers may never feel as safe. Let’s not forget the larger goal of establishing freedom of expression for all Iranians after Sina is free.
To Sina; we are all glad you’ll be with your family after over 3 weeks of unwarranted detention and hope your confinement was spent with minimal “discomfort”. If you choose to change your methods and approach, both in writing as well as your position, it will be a sad loss but understandable. We are all pre-programmed for self-preservation and with a young family, your responsibilities are intensified. So, no matter what you say or do after being released, even if it is to condemn our actions on your behalf, we will all take it with some cynisism and disdain but pledge to say what you can’t say and do what you will not be able to do on behalf of you, all other writers in Iranian prisons, as well as the larger community in fighting tyrany and dictatorship.
: We’ll never know exactly what led to Motallebi’s freedom but I’m sure we should give credit to:
: Hossein Derakhshan at Hoder.com/weblog, who reported the news of Sina’s arrest.
: Pedram Maolemmian at Eyranian.net, who started a petition to free Sina and drew attention to the cause with it.
: Many other courageous webloggers in Iran whom I can’t read because they write in Persian but who risk their own freedom to speak freely online.
: The power of weblogs to spread news instantly. Because the two men above wrote their weblogs in English, other webloggers picked up the news and the cause and major media outlets (not enough) picked up the story.
I’ll be the mullahs are surprised not only at the power of weblogs within Iran but also at their power to connect to the world outside their repressive cloud. I’ll bet they’re even more sobered at this phenomenon today than they were the day before they arrested Motallebi.
: Hoder confirms the word already reported in the comments here: He is out of prison after 29 days.
: Update: Just to clarify, from Hoder. He is out on bail.