Navid Mohebbi, the youngest blogger ever arrested, was released by Iran over the weekend.
According to the Iranian Human Rights group RAHANA, the 18-year-old amateur blogger and women's rights advocate was released from Sari prison on Christmas.
The release, first announced on local radio and picked up by the Human Rights Activists News Agency over the weekend, came after Navid was sentenced to three years of suspended imprisonment in a closed door court session in which he did not have access to his lawyer, likely a face-saving tactic by Iranian authorities.
While governments and mainstream media have paid little attention to Navid's case, Iran has been under heavy pressure from domestic opposition leaders and international human and women's rights activists to release him.
A Safe World for Women, a global women's rights and advocacy organization, was among the first group to reveal Navid's imprisonment and has led efforts on Change.org to pressure senior UN human rights officials to advocate for Navid's release. Over 600 Change.org members took action to demand UN help in getting Navid released, and we have covered Navid's case a number of times.
"It's wonderful to have some good news isn't it!" Christine Crowstaff, Founder of A Safe World for Women, told Change.org this morning. "Our Iran correspondent sends you many thanks for all you have done for Navid! And so do we all!"
"I should just clarify that we were calling for Navid's unconditional release - and we can't exactly call a 3 year suspended sentence 'unconditional'," she continued. "But at least Navid has been released - which especially regarding Iran I think we can say is a major achievement! And a million times better than being held in prison in the conditions he was in."
Navid was arrested in his home city of Amol in September by eight Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents and charged with insulting Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, disseminating propaganda against the Iranian regime to foreign media and supporting One Million Signatures, a campaign by Iranian women to get one million signatures in support of changing sexist Iranian laws.
In reality, the guy just kept a blog, since translated into English by A Safe World for Women, about corruption, the growing Iranian opposition movement, domestic violence, sex trafficking, and forced genital mutilation.
Navid was beaten, taken to Sari prison and put in a cell with a convicted murderer.
A Safe World for Women plans to continue to advocate for Navid's unconditional release, but has decided to declare victory on the current campaign to simply get him out of prison.