Saturday, July 18, 2009

Well-known figures from more than 60 countries, from Noam Chomsky to Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, ask Tehran to free the Canadian-Iranian journalist.

Newsweek Web Exclusive

Nearly 300 of the world's most respected authors, filmmakers, and journalists have put their names to petitions this week calling on the Iranian government to release NEWSWEEK correspondent and documentary film director Maziar Bahari from prison. He has been held since June 21 in Tehran without access to a lawyer or the ability to see his family, even though no formal charges have been brought against him.

Among more than 100 authors who signed a letter sent to authorities in Tehran by PEN American Center and PEN Canada on Thursday were Nobel laureates Orhan Pamuk of Turkey, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, and Nadine Gordimer of South Africa. Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga is on the list, as is Italy's Umberto Eco. Martin Amis and Paul Auster, Mario Vargas Llosa, Don DeLillo, E. L. Doctorow, Ha Jin, Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, Zadie Smith, and Saadi Youssef all call on the Iranian government "to release Mr. Bahari, and all others detained in connection with their post-election reporting in Iran, immediately and without condition."

While careful to avoid confrontational language and any comment on the internal Iranian dispute over the June 12 election results, the PEN petition and others underscore how closely the world is following the cases of individual detainees in Iran. The range of signatories also speaks to the diversity of Bahari's work not only as a journalist, but also as a filmmaker and playwright... (more)

Useful links:
Petition: The PEN American Center

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