Bahari was held for almost four months last year in Iran before he was allowed to leave for Canada. At the time, Bahari was reporting on Iran for Newsweek from Iran. Newsweek
reported his arrest, which occurred early in the morning on June 21st, and was not openly conducted by police.
In an article titled Justice, Iranian Style
, Bahari wrote about his sentence, saying
"... A member of my family went to the court just this morning and was told of the judgment, such as it was: a reminder that this is a regime that deals in brutal symbols that make sense only to its own."
Originally held on 11 charges in June, Bahari said he was interrogated and tortured for the nearly four months he was held in jail. Ultimately, he was only tried on six charges, although Bahari has not been able to obtain official confirmation of his sentence.
News of the harsh sentencing for Bahari, who works for Newsweek, came at the same time as news that Iran had executed five prisoners Sunday was filtering out of Iran. Amnesty International
has condemned the executions. The five, four of whom were of Kurdish ethnicity, were hung to death for "enmity against God." Amnesty said the prisoners were executed in violation of Iran's own laws. The agency's Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Malcolm Smart, said
"We condemn these executions which were carried out without any prior warning. Despite the serious accusations against them, the five were denied fair trials. Three of the defendants were tortured and two forced to 'confess' under duress. They were then executed in violation of Iranian law, which requires the authorities to notify prisoners' lawyers.in advance before carrying out executions."
Smart went on to call the executions acts of intimidation.
"These latest executions appear to be a blatant attempt to intimidate members of the Kurdish minority and other critics and opponents of the government in the run up to the first anniversary, on 12 June, of last year's disputed presidential election."
One of the five executed was a Kurdish teacher, Farzad Kamangar. Kamangar is being hailed as a hero by Iranians. Perianbanoo tweeted
"What regime doesn't realize is that they hv already made a hero out of Farzad Kamanger with or without his body #iranelection"
Kamanger was sentenced in 2008, in what many say was a set up. Payvand
reported that many Iranians are enraged Kamanger was killed.
There are unconfirmed reports
that other prisoners, held in Iran's Evin Prison are on a hunger strike to protest the hangings. AFP
said Iran has executed 61 people this year.