Thursday, May 04, 2006

Iran jails leading intellectual for 'spying'

The Scotsman:
A PROMINENT Iranian philosopher and writer has been arrested on suspicion of espionage, it was reported yesterday.

Iran's judiciary confirmed the arrest, without specifying the charges brought against Ramin Jahanbegloo, who also holds Canadian citizenship.

The first high-profile intellectual arrested since the election of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June, Jahanbegloo is being held at Tehran's notorious Evin prison, where most of Iran's jailed political dissidents are kept. READ MORE

Several newspapers carried reports linking the top writer's arrest to "espionage".

Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said: "The arbitrary arrest of Ramin Jahanbegloo shows the perilous state of academic freedom and free speech in Iran today."

But Iran's culture minister, Mohammad Hossein Saffar- Harandi, said: "In the Islamic Republic, no-one is arrested for expressing their views."