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Iran President voices concern over arrest of book authors, publishers

President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday expressed concern over the arrest of a book translator, a publisher, a critic of cultural works in the press and an official in charge of authorizing publication of the book, IRNA reported from Tehran.

In a letter to Minister of Culture and the Islamic Guidance Ahmad Masjed Jamei, the president urged him to follow up the case and bring it to an end.

President Khatami said in his letter that dealing with cultural works needs respective knowledge so that the publishers and writers who are the means of cultural development should not be dealt with irresponsibly.

He said that the judicial officials are expected to respect the law in dealing with the defendants who are working in the cultural sector.

The president appreciated the minister`s successful administration of the cultural sector and advised him to exercise patience to put the crisis behind.

Masjed Jamei had forwarded a letter to the president complaining about the judicial action against book writers, publishers which ignored the authority of the ministry bestowed upon it by the Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution.

"I`ve heard that a translator, publisher, book critic and an official in charge of authorizing the publication of books have been arrested. Since the judicial officials have not rejected their arrests, I hereby inform you that such arrests are taking place in defiance of the procedure approved by the Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution, and ask for your personal assistance in solving the crisis," Masjed Jamei said in letter to the president.

Author of `Iran`s Women Musicians` Toka Maleki, its publisher Jaafar Homai, cultural critic Banafsheh Samgis have received prison terms.

Translator of the book `Women behind Veil and Well-Dressed Men` Maliheh Moghazei and Ministry of Culture and the Islamic Guidance Director General Majid Sayyad have also received prison terms.

... Payvand News - 8/20/03 ... --

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