Hossein Shanbehzadeh, a literary editor and Twitter activist, says an Iranian court has denied the appeal of his prison sentence for insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni.

Shanbehzadeh wrote on June 30 that his six-year prison sentence has been upheld for being convicted of “insulting the sanctities and the leader of the Islamic republic.”

Shanbehzadeh — who was sentenced on September 12 — posted the appellate court’s verdict, which says he will have to serve 3 and 1/2 years of the sentence.

In a note to his friends and online followers, Shanbehzadeh said the most important thing to him is having freedom of expression, which he said he never gave up in writing online. He urged people to “not give up and to be free,” adding that “the government has destroyed my life and future.”

Shanbehzadeh concluded his note saying: “Hopefully one day we will all be free [and] no prison [will be] greater than ignorance and oppression.”

There has been an increased crackdown on online activists in Iran in recent weeks.

On June 29, Vida Rabbani, a journalist and online activist, announced on Twitter that she had been sentenced to five years in prison with some of the time suspended.

The crackdown comes as pensioners and other labor groups have been protesting about the poor economic situation in the country, blaming the government for spiraling inflation, high unemployment, and failing to deliver on pledges to increase wages and improve living conditions.

The government’s response to the protests has been arrests, violence, and the repression of participants.

Source » rferl