Monday, May 14, 2007

Iran: Top Blogger arrested

This is bad:

Mehdi Boutorabi, the CEO of Persian Blog, a service company for Iranian bloggers, was arrested Sunday in his Tehran office, reports said Monday. Persian Blog was founded in 2001 by three students who two years later, during a crackdown by authorities on bloggers which led to many arrests, sold it to Boutorabi, a young entrepreneur close to Iran's reformist movement.

Officially, Boutorabi was arrested over the disappearance of former Pasdaran general, Alireza Asghari, though the connection between the two is unclear and has not been explained by authorities yet.

An ex deputy defence minister, Alireza Asghari disappeared in Istanbul, Turkey, in January.

Some claim the former Revolutionary Guards commander, who has precious information on Iran's missile systems and nuclear progress, defected to a European country while others believe he was abducted by the US.

Should Persian Blog be shut down, thousands of Iranian bloggers would loose the opportunity of keeping an online diary.

After authorities recently shut down a number of reformist newspapers, blogs are a relevant source of independent news in Iran.