October 8, 2004
Iranian journalist and human rights advocate Emad Baghi
detained by authorities on way to U.S.
to Accept Intl. Human Rights Award
For Immediate Release
Contact: Susan Kayne, EqualShot, (917) 880-1365
October 8, 2004
New York, NY -- Emadeddin
Baghi, Iranian reformist journalist, historian and author, was
by Iranian authorities at the Tehran airport early this week
as he attempted to travel to New York to receive the 2004
His passport was confiscated and he was not permitted to leave
the country. This action appears to be a demonstration of an emerging
pattern of harassment of independent human rights defenders in
" I am a researcher, writer and human rights activist working
in accordance with the law," said Baghi. "They were
checking everything thoroughly as though I was a spy trying to
take out and disclose confidential nuclear information. I had not
been summoned, trailed or penalized, thus this action was totally
against the law."
Baghi, a former revolutionary and Islamic seminary student committed
to the establishment of democratic reform in Iran, used his ability
as a writer to call attention to government involvement in the
murders of more than 80 secular writers, intellectuals and political
activists in Iran in the late l990's. He is the author of
20 books, six of which were banned by the ruling Iranian clerics.
In 2000, Baghi was arrested, put on trial and imprisoned in
solitary confinement for apostasy and endangering the security
of the Islamic
state. Although freed in 2003, he remains under a new threat
of prison sentence for his staunch defense of free expression.
According to Amnesty International, preventing Baghi from taking
part in human rights conferences by the Special Court for the Clergy,
which has never sentenced, tried or even summoned him, is contrary
to Article 7 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders. This article states "everyone has the right, individually
and in association with others, to develop and discuss new human
rights ideas and principles and to advocate their acceptance."
The Civil Courage Prize, which Baghi had planned to accept in
person on October 12, honors individuals who exhibit "civil
courage" - steadfast resistance to injustice at great personal
"It takes an individual with almost super-human courage
of conviction to put their life on the line year after year to
fight an injustice," said John Train, founder of the Civil
Courage Prize and chairman of the Northcote Parkinson Fund. "There
are many courageous people in this world, but very few who will
lead the charge for rights and freedom at their own expense and
often that of their families. Baghi is one of them."
For more information on Emaddedin Baghi, please visit civilcourageprize.org.
From Tobi E
Who's your Iranian of the day?