The relentless crackdown on the press in
There are 23
other journalists already in prison in
Each one of these incidents is appalling, as is the
But the arrest of Shamsolvaezin, or Shams as he is known,
hits home in a very personal way. We consider him a friend. When we honored
Shams in prison in 2000 he was serving a 30-month sentence for “insulting
Islamic principles.” After his early
release from prison in September 2001 we stayed
in touch. Shams has emerged not only as a vital defender of free expression
Obviously, we are deeply concerned for his welfare and will
continue to speak out on his behalf.
Does the international attention make a difference? We believe it does, and we are prepared for a long campaign. At a minimum, we hope that Shams becomes aware of the level of international concern and is bolstered by it. That’s what happened when Greek freelancer Iason Athanasiadis was in jail. He tells his story in this brief video interview with CPJ.
Without overlooking the terrible injustice perpetrated against every one of the journalists jailed in Iran, we feel a special bond with Shams and will continue to emphasize his case.
Shams, if somehow you get this message, here’s what we want you to know: Journalists around the world stand behind you, and will not rest until you are released.