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Wednesday's Connector of the Day: Maziar Bahari

December 1st, 2009
02:39 PM ET

Detained by the Iranian government for 118 days, journalist Maziar Bahari was taken in to custody on June 21st and held in Tehran’s Evin prison. 

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/01/bahari.art.gi.jpg caption="Iran accused Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari of being a spy. "]

Now freed, he will be on Wednesday’s show to talk about his horrific experience.

A correspondent for U.S. magazine Newsweek, Bahari was reporting on Iran’s highly controversial Presidential elections, in June 2009.

The elections saw incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announce a victory with 62% of the votes cast, but many analysts voiced doubts about the authenticity of the results. During a series of protests staged in Tehran, authorities clamped down and made arrests of demonstrators, dissenting voices, and journalists.

Among them, Maziar Bahari, dual citizen of Canada and Iran, whose wife Paola Gourley was pregnant at the time.

He was accused of being a spy and forced to make a false confession acknowledging that western journalists conduct espionage.

At times during his imprisonment he was so fearful for his situation that he considered committing suicide.

Send your questions here for Maziar Bahari and we’ll put the best of them to him on Wednesday’s show.

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Siyad Hajir

    Miziar Bahari!!
    you were in jail for 118 days in one of the worst jails in the world and i hope you are now enjoying a lexuries life which is totally different than the one you saw back in Tehran Evin,s prison. I think there are many innocent prisoners like you who are still held in Iran's prisons.
    How can those prisoners be released? are you optimistic of there release?

    December 1, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  2. Sinlee Loh

    I read his article in Newsweek. It's incredibly unfortunate that what started out as a Daily Show joke turned so ugly. I applaud Mr Bahari's strength and his family's perseverance during the whole ordeal and I hope this story forces the world to scrutinize Iran's harsh prison conditions (as well as those of other countries).

    December 1, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  3. A. Smith, Oregon

    'He was accused of being a spy and forced to make a false confession acknowledging that western journalists conduct espionage. At times during his imprisonment he was so fearful for his situation that he considered committing suicide.'

    How interesting in that the kidnapped prisoners at Gitmo and other CIA off-shore secret prisons stated the same thing. Tortured into making false confessions, and then considering suicide.

    Why is Senator John McCain who was tortured until he confessed to numerous crimes including war crimes and video taped signing a document of the charges, stating the CIA kidnapped prisoners confessions under torture are valid? Was John McCains signed confessions of committing war crimes, valid?

    Senator John McCain is the biggest hypocrite in the Republican party and that is saying something!

    December 2, 2009 at 7:46 am | Reply
  4. Nat

    Thank God you are free – welcome back!
    There are currently dozens of members of the Bahai faith in Evin prison. They are jailed for their religious beliefs – ridiculously accused by their gov't of espionage. The trial of "The Bahai 7" (7 believers who held administrative posts) has been postponed several times now. These women and men have endured solitary confinement and harsh conditions. Do you have any news? Did you ever come in to contact with these innocent victims? What can be done? Many thanks from a fellow Iranian-Canadian

    December 2, 2009 at 8:50 am | Reply
  5. Abbas

    The Iranian regime seems to have silenced the opposition with their scare tactics; we don't see anyone really challenging the government like they did a few months back (apart from sporadic demonstrations here and there which are significantly smaller). So how do you see the future of the so called 'Green Movement'? Was this another movement like the July 9th 99 demonstrations, effectively killed at birth by the authorities?

    December 2, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  6. Reza Maki

    In the past you have shown your opposition to the former shah's regime and your general support of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, so isn't it normal that you are now a victim of the monster that you have helped create?
    How about those paid a much heavier price than you but never supported your Revolution?

    December 2, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  7. AJ

    Let me start by saying that I completely understand why you have decided not to go back considering the ludicrous charges that they've brought up against you, but in general if more and more journalists are silenced, or leave because it's simply not worth it, isn't that exactly what the Iranian government wants? Also, is the situation different for journalists who are not Iranian citizens in terms of being able to cover the stories freely? Or would they get the same treatment by the authorities?

    December 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  8. nikos p.

    who won the election, mr bahari? was there a fraud?

    December 2, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  9. Farhad

    Mr. Bahari,

    you are an iranian journalist and you know how Iran was before the revolution and after the revolution. So i guess you know a lot about the Shah era and the current regime in Iran.

    So i would like to from you, if it was really necessary to fight against the Shah and helping the current regime to take over the Power in Iran.

    I am 27 years old and i am not able to travel to Iran. I have spend all the days outside of Iran. Please tell me what was the reason of that revolution? And from your point of view what have been changed since the revolution? More freedom ofr the iranian people? more rights for different religions? Stronger economy? A better reputation outside of Iran?

    As i heard you are or you were against the Shah era! Do you still believe in the revolution of 1979?

    Beside these...welcome back in freedom

    My regards

    December 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  10. James W. Hawkins

    To many outsiders (and probably insiders), the Iranian leadership and its supporting zealots come across as idiots and backward. What do you say to those holding that opinion?

    Alexandria, Egypt

    December 2, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  11. Lana

    First: Welcome Back!
    Second: Do you regret pursuing the truth to the point of being jailed, anytime before or during your captivity? Did you fear at all for your personal safety? Was truth the drive for your journalistic endeavors or is there something more or else?

    December 2, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  12. Ola

    Do you think the entire Iranian situation would be different if America had not overthrown Iran's democracy in 1953?

    btw, welcome back!

    December 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  13. Yumil Muro

    Mr. Bahari,

    It's truly a great news the fact that your are a free man now, congratulations! How did you do it? There where times that I wonder, what needs to happen for the Iranian government to release you? The feeling of impotence knowing stories like yours is truly sad.
    Nevertheless , I wish you the best from now on and pray for the many innocent prisoners who are still held around the globe.

    December 2, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  14. G. Stewart

    having just read of the poisoning of a prison doctor my disgust at the current Irianian regime is again reinforced. From clearing mine fields with 12 year olds to hanging 17 year old girls the attitude seems from a different planet. My question is: do the Iranian people realize the risk they are running developing a nuclear weapon? Do they realize that as soon as the weapon is used, and I believe it will be, their civilization will end? One of the most beautiful landscapes on earth will be pulverized? An entire race that has brought much to civilization will become an endangered race and almost extinct? Do you think I am overstating the risk?

    December 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  15. Steffi

    Becky Anderson reported about your wife and your arrest August this year. Your wife showed a 20-week-scan of a little baby. Which lesson are you going to teach your baby from the time after the controversial election in Iran and in jail?
    Best wishes
    Steffi -Germany

    December 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  16. Tony

    Dear Sir,

    Is there thing that can prevent the Revolutionary Guard from seizing more and more power? Can they be stopped? If yes, how, and by whom?

    Thank you for your courage!

    Irvine, CA

    December 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  17. Ravash Eshraghi-Yazdi

    Why are people so desperate to leave Iran after the revolution than before?
    I believe that everyone that wanted a revolution should stay in Iran and die by it. They made their bed now lie in it.
    My parents had to leave everything behind in 1979 so that I might have a future in Canada and I promise you that I will never step foot in IRAN as long as the regime does not change.

    At least you are out enjoy the freedom you have in Canada and forget Iran.

    December 2, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  18. hamed

    Dear Maziar,

    you were in iran during the iran's recent election (KODETA). what kind of journalist are you?Do you really believe that Ahmadinejad is the winner of that Election?
    Do you know why they arrest you and hundreds of reformists, etc. Do you know why millions of people came to the streets? Do you know why they start killing and biting people? Do you know why they forced you to have an interview on their TV? DO you know why Iraninan people are still using every chance to come to the streets? Do you know why we never give up this movement?

    If you don't know I will tell you as a young iranian.

    Everything just started because the Iranian regime, has stolen our votes. That was the point which you didn't see as a journalist.

    Any way, I have a lot of respect for you and wish you success in your life and your carrier.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  19. Abbas

    Could you please put this interview in it's entirety on the website ?
    The video that's currently posted is very short.

    December 3, 2009 at 11:03 am | Reply
  20. Reza

    Nothing is ever as it seems in the Middle-East and in Iran.

    Before the good hearted but naive viewers outside Iran drop too many tears for Mr. Bahari, they need to know how things work here.

    Although not of age to have taken part in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Mr. Bahari belongs to the class of "intellectiuals" (read pseudo-intellectual) who has opposed the previous regime of the shah and generally supported the Revolution and he freely admits he has friends in the current government.

    Back in the West and in the US media he is becoming a hero of democracy against dictatorship (we know that anytime the word "democracy" is used the US public is immedeately won over) but before you shed too many tears for him in the heartland, who is going to cry for the real victims of Mr. Bahari's "legitimate" Islamic Revolution?

    December 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  21. pietro costa

    Unlike most of the ignorant comments on this blog, Mr. Bahari shows some true intellect and fairness. While making some criticism of the Iranian police investigators regarding his arrest and treatment, he also make a key point or admission. Mr. Bahari admits that President Ahmadineja probably won the election. No one on this blog understands, no one on CNN will admit this either. While I have no connection to Iran, I do have a strong connection to the truth. That is something sorely lacking whenever we discuss Iran. This is the same thing we did with Iraq, remember the WMDs folks?

    December 13, 2009 at 6:51 am | Reply

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