'Newsweek reporter faces Iran trial'
Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari and a number of reformist leaders in Iran are to face trial accused of "acting against national security," their lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told AFP on Saturday.world Updated: Jul 04, 2009 14:47 IST
Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari and a number of reformist leaders in Iran are to face trial accused of "acting against national security," their lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told AFP on Saturday.
"Bahari is accused of acting against national security, and I still have not been able to meet him despite going to the prosecutor's office several times," Nikbakht said.
He is also representing a number of reformist leaders detained in the aftermath of the June 12 presidential election, and said that all of them face the same charge.
Nikbakht said he is also representing former deputy foreign minister Mohsen Amizadeh, ex-government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, former economy minister Mohsen Safai-Farahani and former vice-president Mohammad Ali Abtahi, all of whom served under reformist president Mohammad Khatami.
Behzad Nabavi, former deputy speaker of parliament between 2000 and 2004 when it was reformist-controlled, is another of his clients.
"I was not able to see any of them, and Safai-Farahani and Nabavi have not been able to contact their families either," Nikbakht said. He did not say when his clients would appear in court.
"Any kind of interview and confession by these people who are being held in prison is invalid under the law and the Iranian constitution," Nikbakht added.
Less than a week ago, the Fars news agency reported an "interview" with Bahari, in which he said that he had filed "unreal and biased reports from Iran which were driven by greed."
On Wednesday Newsweek repeated a call on Iran to release its correspondent immediately and rejected charges made against him. The US news weekly said that Bahari has been detained in Iran since June 21 without access to a lawyer.
It quoted an Iranian state news agency as saying that Bahari "has said he participated in a Western media effort to promote irresponsible reporting in Iran."
Scores of journalists and reformist politicians were arrested following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election, which triggered mass protests in Iran and charges of voter fraud.
In addition to detaining Canadian-Iranian Bahari, the Iranian authorities expelled BBC correspondent Jon Leyne and detained Greek-British journalist Jason Fowden, who was working for The Washington Times.