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Report: Famed Iranian blogger granted prison leave

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December 9, 2010 10:43 AM EST | AP

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An Iranian rights group says a pioneering Canadian-Iranian blogger has been temporarily freed from prison on bail of about $1.5 million.

Hossein Derakhshan is serving a more than 19-year sentence as part of Iran's widespread crackdown on the media and web.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said Thursday that Derakhshan is expected back in prison in a few days, but gave no further details. It's unclear who posted the bail.

Derakhshan founded the first Farsi-language blog a decade ago and is often called the father of Iran's Internet activism, which remains a cornerstone of the opposition despite relentless pressures.

In 2006, Derakhshan angered Iranian authorities by visiting archenemy Israel in what he called a peace mission.