Freed Iranian-Canadian journalist lands in U.K.

Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, freed from jail in Tehran over the weekend, is now in London, says his employer, Newsweek.
Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist working for Newsweek, was accused of spying. ((Canadian Press))

Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, freed from jail in Tehran over the weekend, is now in London, says his employer, Newsweek magazine.

"We are delighted to announce that Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari has arrived in London in time to witness the upcoming birth of his first child," reported Tuesday.

Bahari, 42, had been held in Tehran's Evin prison since June 21, when he was arrested on accusations of spying. 

He was among dozens of journalists detained in a widespread crackdown on the media after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's contested re-election on June 12.

His wife, Paola Gourley, has had a difficult pregnancy and is in hospital. She is scheduled to have a caesarean section next Monday.

The support of "thousands of friends, colleagues and well-wishers around the world" helped to make Bahari's release possible, said.

'Deeply grateful'

"Your efforts have been invaluable, and the family is deeply grateful. They ask only that they be allowed some time alone together now after their long and trying separation."

Canadians are "relieved" at Bahari's release, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement Tuesday.

"We can only imagine what Mr. Bahari has been through during the past months and the anguish that his wife has experienced during this difficult period. Canada commends all journalists who risked their lives by reporting on the Iranian elections from within the country," he said.

"While we rejoice today for Maziar Bahari's homecoming, we must not forget about the countless others who remain unjustly imprisoned in Iran today solely for political reasons," Harper added. "Canada continues to stand with the people of Iran in their struggle with the Iranian regime."

Originally from Tehran, Bahari moved to Canada in 1988 and completed a degree at Concordia University in Montreal. He has a home in Toronto and has been working in Iran for Newsweek for more than a decade, according to the magazine.