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Writers Urge Iran To Free Newspaper Editor

Source: RFE/RL

Over 150 writers, translators, journalists, and other literary figures have signed a letter to the head of Iran's judiciary demanding the immediate release of the editor in chief of a reformist newspaper, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Iranian writer and journalist Ahmad Gholami, who was arrested in after
a raid on the newspaper "Shargh" on December 7.

Ahmad Gholami was among four staff from the newspaper "Shargh" arrested in a December 7 raid on its editorial offices.

The others are the newspaper's international section editor Farzaneh Roustaei; political department head Keyvan Mehregan; and financial manager Ali Khodabakhsh.

Official media said the reason for the raid was the publication of a special issue of "Shargh" to mark Students Day on December 7.

Tehran's chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said all four face security charges.

Poet Simin Behbahani is among those who signed the appeal to judiciary head Sadegh Larijani.

"Considering that he has always been calm and gentle and moderate in his views, and that he is just a writer, what has happened is not fair to him," she told Radio Farda.

Gholami's arrest came as a shock to the journalistic community as he is generally considered a moderate journalist who has avoided political activity.

Behbahani told Radio Farda, "I have known him for a long time through his writings and I can tell that his personality is not the adventurous kind, to be linked to any illegitimate activity, and he most definitely doesn't deserve to be jailed."

She said that she has not seen any errors in Gholami's articles or heard anything against him, which is why she is "surprised" to hear there are security charges against him.

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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