Saturday 12 September 2009

Newsweek editor calls for UN protest against Iran president over jailing of Maziar Bahari

Newsweek editor Jon Meacham in a New York Times op-ed article has called for a protest inside the United Nations against the Iranian president over the detention of the magazine's Tehran correspondent and acclaimed documentary film maker Maziar Bahari.
Meacham writes: "As the three-month anniversary of Mr. Bahari’s arrest approaches, the outside world has an unusual opportunity to express its disapproval of Tehran’s human-rights abuses.
"On Sept. 23, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to speak at the United Nations General Assembly. The Iranian president seems to love to appear before this audience of nations. But it is outrageous that Mr. Ahmadinejad would come before this body even as his government is detaining a citizen of another country for nothing more than the pursuit of work as a journalist.
"Mr. Ahmadinejad is likely to be greeted by protesters in New York, and as usual, he will dismiss them. But this year the real protest should take place inside the chamber, with governments condemning the arbitrary and unjustified detention of a foreign journalist.
"If Iran wants to be taken seriously on the world stage, it needs to adhere to international standards. Journalists need to be free to report within the legal framework of the country. Foreign governments need to be granted consular access to their citizens. Prisoners need to be granted access to their lawyers, and either charged or released quickly.
"According to its charter, the United Nations was founded “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” If there is one place on the planet where the spirit of the charter ought to prevail, it should be inside the United Nations chamber."

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