Officials at the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York have refused to receive a petition including some 800 signatures by individuals calling for the unconditional release of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh from detention in Iran. Those signing the petition, organized by the New School for Social Research in New York, “strongly deplore and condemn [the] detention and persecution of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh…call for his immediate and unconditional release, and urge the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties to which Iran has long been a signatory.”
New School Professor Arien Mack confirmed that an attempt was made to deliver two envelopes containing the petition, addressed to Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene’i care of the Ambassador, to the Iranian mission to the UN on Wednesday, July 22, but the envelopes were refused. The New School left a message with the Mission’s legal department inquiring about the refusal, but has yet to receive a response.
Other prominent groups including the 3,300 members of PEN American Center, the International Cooperation Agency of Dutch Municipalities, Columbia University, and the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives in Pakistan have called for Kian’s release. PEN, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression, stated in their appeal that they are “deeply concerned that Kian Tajbakhsh has been swept up in a crackdown on peaceful scholars and journalists following the disputed presidential elections in violation of their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.”
Iranian agents arrested Kian Tajbakhsh, an American citizen, and took him away from his wife and small daughter at their home in Tehran at 9:00pm on July 9, 2009. We still have no information about where Kian was taken. We are concerned that he is being held in an attempt by the Iranian authorities to obtain forced statements from him to use in a televised show trial to falsely accuse ‘foreign powers’ of interference in Iran’s postelection crisis. Such statements are repeatedly extracted under conditions of torture for the sole purpose of staging televised show trials in an attempt to deceive the Iranian public.
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