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Iran's Government Arrests Prominent Critic

Prominent commentator and academic Sadegh Zibakalam

Iran’s judiciary has confirmed that political commentator Sadegh Zibakalam has been sent to prison prison on charges including “making false statements and engaging in propaganda activities against the regime.”

Zibakalam recently published a book titled "Why Don't They Arrest You and What Happens in the End?". His arrest came as he was scheduled to attend the book launch event at the Tehran International Book Fair on Sunday.

Zibakalam, a former University of Tehran professor and a figure often described as reformist and neo-liberal, has been a vocal critic of the Iranian government, frequently appearing on international media platforms such as BBC News and Al Jazeera. He has been especially critical of Iran’s nuclear program and has previously acknowledged the State of Israel, citing its recognition by the United Nations, which led to charges of "weakening the system."

His legal troubles include an 18-month prison sentence and a two-year prohibition from participating in political activities online and with various groups due to allegations of “conducting propaganda against the state.”

Another case that led to a one-year prison sentence involved the dissemination of what the authorities deemed “undocumented and false content.” Additionally, a third case, confirmed by the Supreme Court, sentenced him to six months in prison for similar charges.

The legal actions followed a series of statements by Zibakalam, including remarks made during an interview with Voice of America's Persian television. In the interview, he argued that Israel should not be blamed for the January bombing in Kerman, as it typically targets specific individuals and "does not attack innocent people."

On January 3, a memorial service at the grave of former IRGC Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in eastern Kerman, was rocked by two bomb explosions. The attacks resulted in the deaths of over 100 people and left more than 280 others injured.

© Volant Media UK Limited 2024

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