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Iranian blogger said to have died in prison

Associated Press / March 20, 2009
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Rights groups say an Iranian blogger convicted of insulting the country's ruling clerics has died in Tehran's main prison.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Reporters Without Borders said a lawyer for 29-year-old Omid Mirsayafi reported that the blogger died Wednesday at Evin prison.

The lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, couldn't be reached for further comment. There was no immediate comment from Iranian authorities.

The rights groups said Mirsayafi suffered from severe depression and died after authorities failed to provide him with proper medical care. No other details were available.

"We hold the Iranian authorities entirely responsible," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. "He was unfairly arrested, and they failed to provide him with the necessary medical care."

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called for Iranian prosecutors to open a full-scale inquiry into the death. The group said Mirsayafi was sentenced last month to 30 months in prison after being convicted of insulting Iran's top officials in his blog.

According to the rights groups, Mirsayafi said his postings were read by a only few friends and not meant for a wider audience. Most of the articles on his blog concerned traditional Persian music and culture, Reporters Without Borders said.

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