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Canadian journalist and filmmaker arrested

(CJFE/IFEX) - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression has written to the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa to call for the release of journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari and other detained journalists and bloggers.

Mr. Bahram Ghasemi
Chargé d'Affaires of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Canada
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Canada
245 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2K2

June 22, 2009

Dear Mr. Ghasemi,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is extremely concerned at the news that another Canadian citizen, journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari, was detained by the Iranian authorities on Sunday, June 21, 2009.

According to Bahari's employer, the US magazine Newsweek, Bahari was detained by several security officers in the early hours of the morning at his home in Tehran. The men did not identify themselves and seized Bahari's laptop and videotapes. He has not been heard from since.

Maziar Bahari's arrest comes at a time when journalists are under extreme pressure as they attempt to get the news out about violent protests that have followed the presidential election last week. Some reports state that as many as 34 journalists and bloggers may have been detained. This is in addition to journalists already in prison, such as another Canadian, blogger Hossein Derakhshan, who has been detained since November 2008 without charges.

CJFE calls on the government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release all journalists and bloggers who have been detained simply because they are exercising their right to free expression. If journalists are detained, the authorities need to ensure that their human rights are respected, that charges are made known and that detainees have full access to legal assistance.

We thank you for your attention and look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Amber, President

CC: The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Michel de Salaberry, Chargé d'Affaires of Canada to the Islamic Republic of Iran
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