This is a guest post by Alex Higgins
During the revolutionary tumult early this summer, the Iranian authorities jailed a swathe of journalists and film-makers. Among them, the talented documentary maker and playwright Maziar Bahari. A Canadian citizen, he lived with his wife, Paola Gourley here in London. She is pregnant with their first child.
Beginning with ‘The Voyage of St.Louis’ – the story of over 900 German Jewish refugees and their doomed search for asylum in the Americas, he has made films on diverse topics from AIDS in Iran and Africa, the Iranian revolution, the 1953 coup, the Iraq War and football.
He was reporting on the Iranian elections for Newsweek International when he was arrested and imprisoned on June 21st. Accused of endangering Iranian national security, he has been charged with nothing to date and is denied access to a lawyer and contact with his family – save the briefest conversation with his mother.
The Iranian state media have reported that Maziar has confessed to trying to overthrow the government, and you don’t need me to speculate how that statement was likely procured.
While the Canadian government is pursuing quiet diplomacy, Maziar’s family and employers have decided it is in his interests to make their demands public and they are asking people like you to sign a petition for his release. His wife made a particularly poignant and dignified request for help on the Rachel Maddow Show, and I encourage you to watch the clip:
So far the petition has just over 8,000 signatures. It’s really quick and you can stay anonymous. If hundreds of readers here sign and pass on the word, you can really boost that number and hopefully make a difference.
(For a petition you can sign, click on the ‘You Can Help’ option at the official Free Maziar Bahari site.)