Thursday 6 August 2009

'Don't let Maziar Bahari be a scapegoat'

Newsweek is running an article about how Maziar Bahari, the magazine's Tehran correspondent who is being held in an Iranian jail, is expecting his first child in November.
The article by Christopher Dickey begins: "Paola Gourley, 40, does not want to know whether the baby she's carrying will be a boy or a girl. At least, not yet. The father, Maziar Bahari, 42, is in prison in Iran, where he has been held without access to a lawyer or any chance to see his family since June 21.
"Paola, an Italian-English lawyer working in London, has no idea how much longer Maziar will be kept from her, and this is the first child for both of them. So when sonograms show the gender of their baby, she says she will put the results in an envelope and seal it, hoping that Maziar will be freed soon and they can look at the results together. But in the back of Paola's mind, there is a growing fear that their baby will be born in November and Maziar will still be in prison.
"I try to keep positive, but that's my biggest fear, that this is going to be a long-term thing," she told me from London on Tuesday. "I just hope that the people holding Maziar realize just how unfair it is, and that they release him soon. I am petrified that they will use him as a scapegoat and keep him in jail, and that he won't be with me when the baby is born. It makes me desperately sad."
Paola has launched a website to keep people up to date on Maziar Bahari's condition and efforts to free him.
The Newsweek article says: "In the end, the ordeal of Maziar, Paola, and all who love them will be one that requires enormous patience and bravery. Law and diplomacy are irrelevant in a time of show trials. Like the matrons on the streets of Tehran, one can only hope—without really expecting it—that those wielding the clubs that give them power in the courts as well as in the streets will come to their senses, or simply wear themselves out, and that then, somehow, the nightmare will end."
Bahari has also worked for the BBC's Panorama programme.


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