An Iranian court has sentenced prominent sports journalist Ehsan Pirbornash to 18 years in prison, his wife says, amid an intensifying clampdown on the media in the country.
"Despite having a letter from the prison's doctor stating that he is sick and could not tolerate imprisonment, and despite my husband's innocence, Ehsan Pirbornash was sentenced today to 18 years in prison, of which 10 years will have to be served," Behnaz Mirmotaharian tweeted on January 10.
Pirbornash, a reporter for the state-run sports newspaper Iran Varzeshi, was arrested on October 28 at his home in Tehran amid a brutal state crackdown on nationwide protests.
The journalist had commented on the ongoing demonstrations on social media.
More than 60 journalists have been detained since the protest movement against Iran’s clerical establishment erupted across the country in the middle of September. Some of them have been released. Others have been summoned, threatened and had their electronic equipment seized.
Known for its harsh Internet censorship, which includes banning thousands of websites, the Islamic Republic has to a large scale shut down the Internet for most of Iranians in an effort to prevent them from accessing and disseminating information online and from communicating safely.