Canadian-Iranian writer released from prison
Ramin Jahanbegloo, a Canadian-Iranian writer and head of the Cultural Research Bureau in Tehran, was released on Wednesday, August 30, after four months of detainment by Iranian authorities, according to several news reports.
Dr. Jahanbegloo was on his way to the Tehran airport in late April, destined for Brussels to participate in Brussels Forum, a high-level conference on transatlantic issues, when he was detained by authorities on charges of espionage. Governments and NGOs had denounced the detention.
"We are relieved that this prominent intellectual has been freed finally, and we hope he can participate freely in other events outside of Iran in the future,"said GMF President Craig Kennedy.
Jahanbegloo is heavily involved in democracy in Iran and on how the Islamic republic can engage with the West. He has also written on the importance of acknowledging the holocaust, an event which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has openly questioned ever happening.
Dr. Ronald Asmus, executive director of GMF’s Transatlantic Center in Brussels, said, "Ramin is a true intellectual in the finest sense. He has many friends and admirers in Europe, West and East. He represents a wonderful synergy of the best of Western and Eastern democratic intellectual traditions. We are all delighted that he is free."
Many have viewed the treatment of Jahanbegloo as an attempt to intimidate and silence critics of the Iranian government. In recent years, the Canadian government has been highly critical of Iran, not only because of Jahanbegloo's detainment, but also as Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Sahra Kazemi died in detention in Iran in 2003. Kazemi was photographing Evin, a prison notoriously known for its political prisoner's wing.
Ramin Jahanbegloo is a Sorbonne-educated expert on German philosophy. He has also done post-doctoral work in Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University and was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy.