More than 100 prominent journalists from 47 countries sent a petition to the Iranian government today calling for the immediate release of Maziar Bahari, Newsweek’s Tehran correspondent, who has been held without charge in an Iranian jail since 21 June.
The petition was sent by fax to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s justice minister, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, in Tehran. With signatures from respected journalists around the world, including Christiane Amanpour, Ahmed Rashid, Mariane Pearl, Adam Michnik, Roberto Saviano and Ali Bulaç, the petition urges the justice minister to intervene in Bahari’s case and see that he is released immediately and allowed to return to work.
Maziar Bahari, 42, was detained in late June along with at least 23 other local and international journalists amid post-election protests. On 30 June, Fars News agency posted an 11-page “confession” from Bahari in which he allegedly blames western media groups for the unrest that followed the election.
The petition was compiled by three international press freedom groups: Index on Censorship, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.
“This is an important show of solidarity,” said Jo Glanville, editor of Index on Censorship. “Maziar Bahari has been detained without charge for more than three weeks –– and should be released immediately. This distinguished group of reporters, editors and columnists is standing up for the right of journalists everywhere to do their work without fear of arrest, intimidation or detention.”
“Journalists the world over are standing behind their colleague Maziar Bahari,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “These journalists come from many different countries, and many different perspectives. But they agree on one point: Mazari Bahari is a renowned reporter and filmmaker who was doing his job when he was arrested and detained without charge. He should be released, but at a minimum he is entitled to basic due process, including access to a lawyer.”