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Free Parnaz Azima!


From a speech Tuesday by Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, on "21st Century Threats to Press Freedom" …

As we meet here today, the Iranian government is refusing to allow RFE/RL journalist Parnaz Azima to leave Iran, where she went to visit her ailing and hospitalized mother. Iranian officials seized her passport when she arrived and have thus far refused to return it, telling her lawyer it would not be returned for "two or three years." We strongly object to Iranian officials keeping Parnaz Azima in Iran against her will and call on the government to allow her to leave the country so she can return to her work and most importantly, to her children and grandchildren.

I might add that, according to press accounts, Ms. Azima (who has dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship) was asked to "cooperate" with Iran's intelligence services, which she refused.

I've set up a petition calling for Parnaz Azima's release here.

I urge you to take a moment to sign it. Thanks.

NOTE: I've mentioned this before, but you'd think the international journalistic community would be outraged by Ms. Azima's illegal detention. Yet on the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists—an organization dedicated to "defending the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal"—there's nary a mention of her name. But at least Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has belatedly taken note of the situation.

Posted by Rodger on May 3, 2007 at 06:37 AM | Permalink


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