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Petition for Maziar Bahari

This article appears on Index on Censorship

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.”

This is the petition:

15 Jul 2009
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Justice Ministry
Pazdah-Khordad (Ark) Square
Tehran, Iran

By fax: 98 21 222 90 151

Your Excellency:

We are writing to express our grave concern at the detention of our esteemed fellow journalist Maziar Bahari and to request his immediate release. Mr. Bahari has been detained since June 21. No charges have been brought against him, and he has not been granted access to a lawyer. As one of the most impartial and committed journalists in his field, he has reported regularly over the past decade from the Middle East, principally from Iran and Iraq, and provided consistently balanced and insightful reports. As an award-winning documentary filmmaker, he has earned global respect for his work.

We request that he be immediately released from custody and be allowed to resume his work. As a journalist, he was engaged in fulfilling his professional duties, reporting on critical events following the elections. At a minimum, he is entitled to the full protection of the laws of Iran, including the right to legal counsel. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s domestic laws recognize the right to free expression. Iran was also one of the first countries in the world to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees all individuals the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media.

As leading international journalists and editors who wish to ensure that our fellow professionals are permitted to do their work safely and freely, we ask you to consider this petition and return Mr. Bahari to his family, friends, and colleagues without further delay.


Nada Adessamad, Lebanon
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, Al-Arabiya
Mansoor Al-Jamri, Al-Wasat, Bahrain
Abdul Karim Al-Khaiwani, Yemen
Walid Al-Omari, Al-Jazeera
Christiane Amanpour, CNN
Jamal Amer, Al-Wasat Yemen
Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker
Ali Anouzla, Al-Jarida Al-Oula, Morocco
Sally Armstrong, Maclean’s, Canada
Abdul Bari Atwan , Al-Quds Al-Arabi
Omar Belhouchet, Al-Watan, Algeria
Ahmed Reda Benchemsi, TelQuel and Nishan, Morocco
Mohamed Benchicou, Algeria
Sihem Bensedrine, Kalima, Tunisia
Mehmet Ali Birand, CNN TURK
Taoufik Bouachrine, Akhbar el-Youm, Morocco
Ali Bulaç Zaman, Turkey
Tony Burman, Al-Jazeera English
Ian Buruma, Bard College
Lydia Cacho, Mexico
Carlos Fernando Chamorro, Confidencial, Nicaragua
Doha Chams, Al-Akhbar, Lebanon
Ying Chan, Hong Kong
Noam Chomsky, US
Daniel Coronell, Noticias Uno, Colombia
Marites Danguilan Vitug, Newsbreak, The Philippines
Nicholas Dawes, Mail and Guardian, South Africa
Redi Direko, Radio 702, South Africa
Ibrahim Eissa, Al-Dostour, Egypt
Gamal Fahmy, Egypt
Lucio Flavio Pinto, Jornal Pessoal, Brazil
Yousri Fouda, Egypt
Tom Friedman, The New York Times
Sami Ghaleb, Al-Nida, Yemen
Murtada Ghali, Ajras Al-Hurriya, Sudan
Hussein Abdel Ghani, Al-Jazeera
Mónica Gonzalez ,CIPER, Chile
Gustavo Gorriti, Peru
Alma Guillermoprieto, Mexico
Lotfi Hajji, Al-Jazeera
Brian Hungwe, Zimbabwe
Boubakir Jamai, Le Journal, Morocco
Josef Joffe, Die Zeit, Germany
Chaitanya Kalbag, India
Hisham Kassem, EOHR, Egypt
Rachid Khechana, Al-Mawkif, Tunisia
Elias Khoury, An-Nahar, Lebanon
Kyung-Ho Kim, Journalists Association of Korea
Sami Kohen, Milliyet, Turkey
Ted Koppel, US
Mohamed Krichene, Al-Jazeera
Daoud Kuttab, Palestine
Andrei Lipsky, Novaya Gazeta, Russia
Linden MacIntyre, CBC, Canada
Amadou Mahtar Ba, All Africa
Peter Mansbridge, CBC, Canada
Daniele Mastrogiacomo, La Repubblica, Italy
Veran Matic ,B92, Serbia
Wilf Mbanga, The Zimbabwean
Adam Michnik , Gazeta Wyborcza , Poland
John Micklethwait , The Economist
Roula Mikkaeil, Maharat, Lebanon
Javier Moreno, El Pais
Caroline Mutoko, Kiss FM, Kenya
Adela Navarro Bello, Zeta, Mexico
Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times
Carol Off, CBC, Canada
Mariane Pearl, France
Teodoro Petkoff, Tal Cual, Venezuela
Alan Philps, UK
Cristian Tudor Popescu ,Gândul, Romania
Vladimir Pozner, Independent Journalist, Russia
Antonia Rados, RTL Germany
Sergio Ramírez, Nicaragua
Ahmed Rashid, Pakistan
Neziha Rejiba Kalima, Tunisia
Lloyd Robertson, CTV News, Canada
Fernando Rodrigues, Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil
Pierre Rousselin, Le Figaro
Fabrice Rousselot Libération
Rana Sabbagh-Gargour, Jordan
Mahjoub Mohamed Saleh, Al-Ayyam, Sudan
Daniel Santoro, Clarin, Argentina
Enrique Santos, El Tiempo, Colombia
Fernando Savater, Spain
Roberto Saviano, Italy
Khaled Sergany Al-Dostour, Egypt
Najam Sethi, Daily Times, Pakistan
Sabam Siagian Jakarta Post, Indonesia
Sigrun Slapgard Norwegian Broadcasting Organisation
Jon Snow, Channel 4, UK
John Stackhouse, Globe and Mail, Canada
Paul Steiger, ProPublica, US
Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Gambia Press Union
Tarun Tejpal, Tehelka, India
Manuel Vázquez Portal, Cuba
Franco Venturini, Corriere della Sera, Italy
Horacio Verbitsky, Página/12, Argentina
Jiang Weiping, ChinaLal Wickrematunge, Sunday Leader, Sri Lanka
Karem Yehya, EgyptFareed Zakaria, Newsweek
Faride Zeran, Chile