His Excellency Mr Rasoul Movahedian
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT
Fax: 020 7589 4440
19 June 2007
ARTICLE 19, English PEN and Index on Censorship call for the immediate release of three US-Iranian citizens, charged by the Iranian authorities with ‘acting against national security by engaging in propaganda against the Islamic republic by the method of spying on behalf of foreigners.’
The accused are Kian Tajbakhsh, a social scientist at the New School in New York who has worked as a consultant for the Open Society Institute and the World Bank; Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East programme at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and Ali Shakeri, a founding board member of the University of California, Irvine, Center for Citizen Peacebuilding.
ARTICLE 19, Index on Censorship and English PEN are alarmed by the deterioration of the protection of the right to freedom of expression in Iran, and in particular by the repeated attempts by the Iranian authorities to isolate the Iranian media and academic community from its global counterparts, and curtail cross-cultural dialogues and debates, with the view of maintaining tight control over information, ideas, and opinions. Dual nationals American-Iranians have been particularly targeted, and their basic right to a fair trial denied.
We are gravely concerned that Tajbakhsh, Esfandiari and Shakeri have been charged in violation of their right to freedom of expression, as outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and call for their immediate and unconditional release.
Dr Agnes Callamard
Executive Director, ARTICLE 19
Global Campaign for Free Expression
Director, English PEN
Editor, Index on Censorship