March 18, 2009
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
c/o Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Dear President Ahmadinejad:
We are writing on behalf of the International Women’s Media Foundation to express our alarm concerning American freelance journalist Roxana Saberi, who has been detained in Iran since late January.
Saberi has reported for NPR, the BBC and other media outlets. She is being kept in Evin prison in Tehran, where political prisoners are routinely detained. Hasan Qashqavi, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of Iran, stated that Saberi was arrested for gathering news illegally because her press credentials were revoked. She has largely been denied contact with family, friends, colleagues and legal counsel; she last spoke with her family on Feb. 10.
With the increase in such threats to journalists, and even deaths because of their work, we are concerned that Saberi’s abduction signals more restrictions on free expression and press freedom amidst the political instability in Iran. All viewpoints should be allowed to be expressed in the media without force or coercion from authorities.
As a network of thousands of women and men in the media around the world who are supporters of a worldwide free press, we respectfully urge you to take immediate action to ensure that Saberi – who was simply engaged in carrying out her professional work – is safely released. By using your power to ensure that justice is done in this case, you will take a step toward establishing a free and independent press in Iran.
Thank you for your attention.
Campbell Brown, co-chair
cc: Embassy of Iran
2005 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Fax : +202-318-0771