Toronto, August 30, 2006 - PEN Canada welcomes the announcement today that Iranian-Canadian scholar Ramin Jahanbegloo has been released from prison.
Jahanbegloo, who is an Honorary Member of PEN Canada, had been held without charge in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since the end of April 2006. Today, a spokesperson for Canada's ministry of foreign affairs confirmed his release. It is thought that Jahanbegloo was released on bail; however, no confirmation on that detail has been made.
"We are relieved that Ramin Jahanbegloo is once again a free man," said Alan Cumyn, Chair of PEN Canada's Writers in Prison Committee. "We welcome the move by the government of Iran and hope that this will mark the beginning of the release of other political prisoners as well as the end to the persecution of independent Iranian voices."
Jahanbegloo was arrested, allegedly under charges of espionage and for violating security measures in April, but was never formally charged while in custody. In July, Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi accused Mr. Jahanbegloo of being involved in U.S. efforts to overthrow the Iranian government.
A prominent and respected academic who has written extensively on cultural and philosophical topics, Jahanbegloo has written more than 20 books in English, French and Farsi, as well as for newspapers and magazines in Iran and abroad. He also worked at various universities in North America and at the University of Tehran, where he made extensive efforts to establish bridges between Iranian and world cities.
PEN Canada is a centre of International PEN that campaigns on behalf of writers around the world persecuted for the expression of their thoughts. In Canada, it supports the right to free expression as enshrined in Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
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