'Newsweek' writer jailed for 13 years in Iran

A reporter working for Newsweek magazine has been sentenced in absentia to 74 lashes and more than 13 years in prison, raising concerns about a new government crackdown ahead of the anniversary of disputed presidential elections.

Maziar Bahari, who holds dual Canadian and Iranian citizenship, was among scores detained amid a crackdown after elections last year. He spent nearly four months in jail but was released on bail of 3 billion rials (£200,000) and allowed to join his British wife in London in October.

The journalist wrote in this week's Newsweek that the sentence was handed down on Sunday on charges including assembling and conspiring against state security, collecting secret and classified documents, spreading anti-government propaganda and insulting the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr Bahari said he was also sentenced to one year and 74 lashes for "disruption of public order". He was arrested in June as security forces clamped down on widespread anti-government protests.

"A wave of judgments like the one against me... appears aimed at discouraging people from taking part in new mass demonstrations aimed condemning the re-election of Ahmadinejad and the repression that followed," Mr Bahari wrote.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the sentence.