Sunday, July 5, 2009

Maziar Bahari is Newsweek Reporter Tried in Iran

Maziar Bahari is a Newsweek reporter facing trial in Iran for "acting against national security."

Maziar Bahari
Iran is charging that Bahari admitted "filing unreal and biased reports from Iran which were driven by greed," and that Mr. Bahari admitted participating" in a Western media effort to promote irresponsible reporting in Iran." Newsweek says that Maziar Bahari was held without counsel from June 21st to June 30th. Bahari's attorney, Saleh Nikbakht, made this statement:
Any kind of interview and confession by these people who are being held in prison is invalid under the law and the Iranian constitution,
This Breitbart article says that Bahari is a Canadian-Iranian. Other reports show that he was born in Tehran, Iran in 1967. He is also a film maker and graduated Concordia University in Montreal. Bahari has been Newsweek's correspondent in Iran since 1998. Newsweek, of course, is demanding his return. Canada is working for his release also:

But in Ottawa on Monday, concern and outrage grew over what was in store for Bahari, a respected mainstream journalist, who had been posted to Tehran for Newsweek.

Canada planned to file a formal diplomatic protest Monday to Iranian authorities, and to dress down its Canadian envoy for the second time in a week following Bahari's weekend detention.

There is a lot of work by Bahari posted on this web, but this one is particularly ominous. Posted in NewStatesman on November 8, 2007, Bahari talks of Iran's meetings with Iran's ministry of intelligence - several of them, and gives this account of one interrogation regarding a meeting Bahari had set up with a teacher:
I get tired of talking after a while. Then, like Muhammad Ali in the seventh round of his fight with George Foreman, Mr Mohammadi snaps and starts to challenge me. He keeps on smiling. I wish he wouldn't. Why do I think an American publication is interested in talking to Iranian dissidents?...Mr Mohammadi is now targeting my integrity as a journalist, explicitly trying to make a connection between me and a dissident, suggesting that we both work as agents of the Great Satan and that we are part of a bigger plot to topple the Islamic government. If this session had been with previous Mr Mohammadis a few years ago, I would be scared of a pending trial and imprisonment for something I had never done - a destiny that befell many of my friends and colleagues. But what makes this Mr Mohammadi tolerable is his half-hearted approach to the whole thing. His expression is not a grin or a smirk. He almost feels sorry for himself and asks for your sympathy. He looks genuinely confused and somehow out of his depth. His bosses have come up with a conspiracy theory and asked Mr Mohammadi to validate it. He is a smart man and has been down this road many times since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It's never worked in the past and he really doesn't think it will work now. Mr Mohammadi knows that he's wasting his time and mine. He knows that his government should reform itself if it wants to survive.
Read the entire post here. This man is in serious trouble.
Maziar Bahari

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton