Europe seeking information on Sarkuhi's fate

BRUSSELS, Feb 5, wire services -- Europe is asking Iran for news about the fate of dissident writer and journalist Faraj Sarkuhi, but it has yet to get a response, an EU official said Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Iran confirmed Sarkuhi's arrest on Monday, when he and his brother waited for smugglers to spirit them across the Gulf of Dubai to the United Arab Emirates and on to Sweden, where another brother lives as a political refugee.

The EU official, a member of the union's Dutch presidency, said the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg had "asked for information on the conditions of his arrest and his eventual trial." "But we have not received any answers," the official added.

Sarkhuhi, who in October 1994 was among 134 writers and journalists who signed a petition for more freedom of expression in Iran, had already been reported missing by his family last week. Ireland and Luxembourg joined the Netherlands in sending the query to Tehran, as they are the past and future six-month presidents of the 15-nation European Union.

Separately, the five Nordic nations -- Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden -- urged Iran on Wednesday to "respect fundamental human rights" and cast light on Sarkuhi's arrest.

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