CJFE protests jailing of Iranian writers, journalists

Thursday, June 1, 2000

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Mashemi-Shahrudi
Head of Judiciary, Ministry of Justice
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
c/o Ambassador Dr. Seyed Mohammad H. Adeli
Ottawa, Canada

Your Excellencies,

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is deeply concerned at the arrest and imprisonment of writer, editor and lawyer Mehrangiz Kar. CJFE is an independent, non-profit association which promotes freedom of expression worldwide in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Kar was arrested along with publisher Shahla Lahiji on April 29, 2000 following her participation in an academic and cultural conference held in Berlin, Germany on April 7-9, 2000. Journalist Akbar Ganji is also arbitrarily detained following his attendance at the Berlin conference. We understand that Kar is charged with "acting against national security." We strenuously defend her right to free expression and to participate in peaceful dialogue with her national and international peers.

Relatives of Kar who reside in Canada are deeply worried about her safety, as family members in Iran have not yet been able to visit her in jail. Furthermore, she is detained following a closed door hearing and no public trial.

The continued imprisonment of Meharangiz Kar, Shahla Lahiji and Akbar Ganji contravenes the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, of which Iran is a signatory. We call on you to release all three immediately and unconditionally. While they remain imprisoned, we would like your assurance that they will be treated humanely and allowed visits from their legal representatives and their families.

CJFE will continue to monitor this case along with other members of the international community.

Sharmini Peries
Executive Director

cc. The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs

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