Wednesday, July 15, 2009More than 100 prominent journalists from 47 countries sent a petition to the Iranian government today calling for the immediate release of Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, Newsweek's Tehran correspondent, who has been held without charge in an Iranian jail since June 21. "Journalists from around the world are showing solidarity with their colleague Maziar Bahari," said CJFE Executive Director Annie Game. "Canadians have already tragically lost one colleague in Iran (Zahra Kazemi, Evin prison, 2003) so we are heartened that the international community of journalists is standing together to call for Bahari's release from prison." The petition was delivered today via fax to the Islamic Republic of Iran's justice minister, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, in Tehran. Canadian journalists including Peter Mansbridge, Lloyd Robertson, Sally Armstrong, Tony Burman, John Stackhouse and John Cruickshank added their signatures to the petition along with other respected international journalists such as Christiane Amanpour, Mariane Pearl, Ali Bulaç, Ahmed Rashid and Jiang Weiping. 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, a renowned reporter and filmmaker, was detained in late June along with at least 23 other local and international journalists amid post-election protests. On June 30, 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: CPJ, Index on Censorship, and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.
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