Iran frees liberal writer

Iran has freed Ramin Jahanbegloo, the Iranian-Canadian writer, after four months in detention on charges of spying, the Canadian government has said.

    Jahanbegloo has urged Iran to engage with the West

    A spokesman for the Canadian foreign affairs ministry said that Jahanbegloo had been released from Evin prison in Iran.

    The writer and intellectual was arrested in April and Iranian judicial authorities had said he was detained on suspicion of working with the US to overthrow to the Iranian government.

    Canada had asked Iran either to release or formally charge him.

    Strained relations

    Jahanbegloo, 46, studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and Harvard in the US. He has published more than 20 books in English, French and Farsi and interviewed global figures such as the Dalai Lama and Noam Chomsky.

    He has also lectured on democracy in Iran and how it should engage with the West.

    During his time in prison, many local and international scholars, including Chomsky, urged the Iranian government to release him.

     

    The European Union and human rights groups had also criticised Iran's treatment of Jahanbegloo, with some Western diplomats saying his arrest was aimed at intimidating and silencing critics of the Islamic republic's conservative government.

     

    The case further strained relations between Iran and Canada, already poor after the death of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian photojournalist beaten to death while in custody in Iran in 2003. She had been arrested for photographing Evin prison.

     

    Last November, Iran's appeals court upheld its acquittal of an intelligence agent accused of her murder.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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