Dr. Mehdi Khazali
Name: Dr. Mehdi Khazali
Country: Iran
Status: Jailed
Blog: http://www.drkhazali.com/

Dr. Mehdi Khazali is a publisher and son of a leading right-wing cleric and former Counsel of Guardians member, Ayatollah Khazali. He is also an Islamic scholar and the director of the Hayyan Cultural Institute in Tehran. Contrary to the legacy of his father - who is a strong supporter of Iranian President Ahmedinejad - he opposes the excessive mixing of religion and government and believes it can be harmful in modern society. He is one of the strongest critics of the government in Iran today. 

Goverment Relations:

During the 2009 elections, Khazali adamantly criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After publishing a controversial article on his blog, in which he claimed that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had Jewish roots, he was forced to appear in religious court. Following Dr. Mehdi Khazali's appearance in court, he was arrested on June 27, 2009 and taken to a secret location. During his detention, police raided his home and erased his website. Khazali was released on July 20, 2009 on $20,000 bail. On October 13th, 2010, Dr. Mehdi Khazali was reportedly arrested again by Iranian security officials. State-run Fars News Agency reports that Dr. Khazali was arrested on charges of “propaganda against the system,” “publishing lies,” and “disturbing public opinion." The Iranian government has made a habit of charging opposition members with such crimes, seemingly as a punishment for criticism of the regime. The Revolutionary Court's Judge issued his release on a $180,000 bail. On July 18, 2011, Khazali was released.

Khazali has gone on hunger strike since January 9 2012 and stopped it after 70 days. He was brought home due to medical needs.