CJFE shocked at violent attack on filmmaker by Iranian Embassy officials in Ottawa

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
CJFE calls on the Iranian Embassy to Canada to respond to allegations of violence by staff against filmmaker Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) decries the alleged beating of a filmmaker at the hands of officials at the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa. On Friday, June 17th, Canadian-Iranian documentary filmmaker Masoud Raouf was reportedly attacked by guards inside the Embassy. The RCMP are currently investigating the allegations. Raouf went to the Embassy to film Iranians casting absentee ballots in Iran's presidential election inside the Embassy, and others protesting outside the Embassy. He received permission from the RCMP to pass through the protesters and enter the Embassy, and once inside he asked permission at the reception desk to set up his camera. Raouf was reportedly kept by three Embassy guards from setting up his camera. He claims that he was thrown against a wall and that he was repeatedly punched and kicked by the guards. After leaving the Embassy, he was taken to a hospital. "Canadians have watched the case of murdered photojournalist Zahra Kazemi unfold in Iran with horror and indignation," said CJFE President Arnold Amber, "but the realisation that freedom of expression could also be attacked so violently in Canada is a great shock." On Tuesday, June 21st, CJFE wrote to Abbas Assemi, Charge d'Affaires for the Iranian Embassy asking that the Iranian government cooperate fully with the RCMP's current investigation into these allegations, and to ensure that media and all those who visit the Iranian Embassy are not threatened by violence or intimidation. CJFE is an association of more than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and around the world. For more information, contact Julie Payne at (416) 515-9622 or e-mail: jpayne@cjfe.org

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