Maziar Bahari, a Newsweek reporter who contributed several articles to the New Statesman's special report on Iran last year, has been arrested without charge and detained in Tehran. The 41-year-old journalist and filmmaker was arrested on Sunday morning by security officers at his apartment in the Iranian capital. The officers also seized his laptop and several of his films. Bahari, who has reported from Iran since 1998, has not been heard from since.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said that 23 Iranian journalists and bloggers had been arrested since protests over the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a week ago. It added that reporters remained a "priority target" for the Iranian government.
The arrest of Bahari,who holds dual Canadian-Iranian citizenship, followed the regime's violent crackdown on Saturday which left at least 10 people dead and over 100 injured. Protesters chanted “death to Khamenei”, after the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, branded the demonstrations illegal and supported Ahmadinejad's re-election. The daughter of Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president, and five of his other relatives were also arrested, although they have since been released.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have protested in the past week over allegations of vote-rigging, in the largest demonstrations since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Bahari has made more than 10 documentary films including The Fall of a Shah, a history of the Islamic revolution; Football, Iranian style and An Iranian Odyssey, on the 1953 CIA coup against the democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mosaddeq.
The Harvard Film Institute said of his work: "Bahari’s films provide a glimpse inside contemporary Iranian culture as they reveal the human element behind the headlines and capture cultural truths through the lens of individual experience. Representing a new generation of young Iranian filmmakers, Bahari’s trenchant looks at social issues in his country have brought both controversy and international acclaim."
Speaking on Sunday night, his mother said: "I just want Maziar to come home, I just want my son back."
11 September 2008: Inside Iran
11 September 2008: "The shah's plan was to build bombs"
08 November 2007: "We know where you live"