Among the dozens of people arrested overnight on June 21st in Tehran was NEWSWEEK reporter Maziar Bahari, who has covered Iran for the magazine for over a decade. Bahari was home asleep at 7 a.m. when several security officers showed up at his Tehran apartment. According to his mother, who lives with the 41-year-old reporter and documentary filmmaker, the men did not identify themselves. They seized Bahari's laptop and several videotapes. Assuring her that he would be their guest, they then left with Bahari. He has not been heard from since. (read full report)
NEWSWEEK Magazine issued the following statement on June 21:
On Sunday morning in Tehran, Newsweek's Maziar Bahari was detained without charge by Iranian authorities and has not been heard from since. Mr. Bahari is a Canadian citizen and a renowned journalist and filmmaker, who has been living in and covering Iran for the past decade. Newsweek strongly condemns this unwarranted detention, and calls upon the Iranian government to release him immediately.
Mr. Bahari's coverage of Iran, for Newsweek and other outlets, has always been fair and nuanced, and has given full weight to all sides of the issues. He has worked well with different administrations in Tehran, including the current one. Since the elections over 20 journalists and bloggers have reportedly been detained; the seizure of innocent journalists is a violation of the right to a free press in Iran. Newsweek asks that world governments use whatever influence they have with the government in Tehran to make clear that this detention is unwarranted and unacceptable, and to demand Mr. Bahari's release.
The Islamic Republic of Iran now ranks alongside China as the world's biggest prison for journalists. The crackdown has been intensified yet again following Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's endorsement of the result of the 12 June presidential election and the opposition's decision to call another demonstration on 20 June.
Iran now has a total of 33 journalists and cyber-dissidents in its jails, while journalists who could not be located at their homes have been summoned by telephone by Tehran prosecutor general Said Mortazavi.
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