An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Hossein Derakhshan was released last night on the unprecedented bail amount of $1.5 million. Derakhshan had requested a prison furlough after a lower court sentenced him to 19.5 years in prison in September. The informed source told the Campaign that Derakhshan’s family is immensely happy to see him released and hopes that the upcoming appeals court ruling could keep him from returning to prison.

News of Derakhshan’s release was first published by Mashregh News, a website close to Iran’s security circles. The website stated the bail amount to be in the millions (Mashregh News’ article). Derakhshan is expected to return to prison in the next few days. Judicial authorities had refused to grant him furlough till now.

Many post-election prisoners such as journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi have been deprived from furlough. Families of several political prisoners have told the Campaign that security authorities set various pre-conditions and conditions for the prison leave of political prisoners, and if the prisoners don’t heed those conditions or do not accept them, their furloughs will not be granted. If a prisoner is released and after does not meet the conditions, they will be returned to prison.

Hossein Derakhshan was charged with ‘cooperation with hostile states, propagating against the regime, propagation in favor of anti-revolutionary groups, insulting sanctities, and implementation and management of obscene websites,’ and sentenced to 19.5 years in prison, five years’ ban from membership in political parties and activities in the media; and returning received funds in the amount of 30,750 Euro, US$2,900, and 200 British Pounds. His lawyer has appealed the decision, but the appeals court has not yet made its ruling.

Hossein Derakhshan was detained at his home on 1 November 2008. Previously, a source close to his family told the Campaign that Derakhshan spent nearly ten months in solitary confinement, completely isolated from the outside world, and was subjected to beatings to coerce him to make false confessions about having ties to the CIA and Israeli intelligence services. His family was only able to visit him twice during the first year of his detention. Derakhshan’s family was not allowed to attend his trial sessions.