Friday, May 05, 2006


Leading intellectual and journalist arrested as he is about to board a flight

5 May 2006

Leading intellectual and journalist arrested as he is about to board a flight

Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the imprisonment of pro-reform intellectual and journalist Ramin Jahanbeglou, who was arrested at Tehran airport on 28 April after criticising the Iranian government in a series of interviews for Canadian, Spanish and French newspapers in recent weeks. He was transferred yesterday to Evin prison.

“We call for the immediate release of Jahanbeglou, who is being held illegally,” the press freedom organisation said. “We fear that the Iranian authorities, after closing down around 20 newspapers and issuing summonses to dozens of journalists since the start of the year, is now planning a wave of arrests of journalists.”

Jahanbeglou was detained as he was about to catch a flight to attend an international conference on Iran. His arrest was kept secret until 3 May. It was only after reports were posted on websites and broadcast on foreign radio stations that Tehran deputy prosecutor Mahmoud Salarkia confirmed that Jahanbeglou was being held, without explaining why.

The 27 April issue of the French daily Le Monde carried comments by Jahanbeglou criticising the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government.

Jahanbeglou, who has a PhD from the Sorbonne University in Paris, heads the “Modern Thought” group at the Centre for Iranian Cultural Research in Iran. He used to contribute to several pro-reform newspapers such as Gardonn and Kian that were closed by the authorities, and he has written many books on democracy, secularism and non-violence.

He is also a contributor to several foreign news media including the BBC and the French magazines Esprit and Etudes et Projets.

Iran is the Middle East’s biggest prison for journalists and bloggers, with a total of six persons currently held. President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are both on the Reporters Without Borders list of press freedom predators.

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