In an earlier post I remarked about the Egyptian blogger Abdul Kareem Nabil Soliman, held in prison by authorities for his free-speaking criticism of the regime. Now another blogger has been arrested, this one in Iran. Hossein Derakhshan is predictably being accused of spying for Israel. Derakhshan’s real crime, however, appears to be his having visited Israel, where he attended a blogger’s conference, and again expressing his criticism of the Iranian regime.
Authoritarian regimes will inevitably silence their critics through force unless there is someone telling them to stop. It costs President-elect Obama little to make a firm statement here — if anything, it will help build confidence in his leadership. Will he speak out?