CTV Toronto | September 30, 2010

The former wife of an Iranian-Canadian blogger who was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for his provocative writings says she’s stunned by the ruling.

“It’s a tragedy. No one has ever gotten this kind of sentence for writing and expressing his opinion in Iran,” Marjan Alemi told CTV’s Canada AM Wednesday.

Hossein Derakhshan was sentenced Tuesday after being convicted of several offences, including spreading propaganda against the ruling establishment and insulting Islamic thoughts and religious figures. The 35-year-old was also convicted of promoting counter-revolutionary groups and working with “enemy states,” because he visited Israel five years ago.

Alemi says she’s been told to be content with the sentence, because at least Derakhshan wasn’t sentenced to die, as many feared he would be. But Alemi suspects those fears were deliberately fomented by Iranian officials.

“What I think is they put the word out that it’s going to be a death sentence so that when they give out the 19 years, his family was actually happy. I heard that at some point they told his family, ‘You should be happy; he didn’t get a death sentence’,” Alemi said.

Read the full article in CTV Toronto. >>