Family waiting for word on when Cdn reporter Bahari can return to pregnant wife

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - The hospitalized, pregnant wife of an Iranian-Canadian journalist freed from a Tehran jail still hasn't received word on whether her husband will be at her side in London when she's scheduled to give birth next week, a family member said Monday.
Maziar Bahari, 42, was released on bail Saturday after spending nearly four months behind bars following his June 21 arrest while covering the unrest following the disputed Iranian presidential election.
Reports say Bahari's bail conditions prohibit him from leaving the country.
A woman who identified herself as Bahari's sister-in-law said the family has not heard anything about whether the Newsweek reporter can leave Iran to be reunited with his ailing wife in London's University College Hospital.
"We're all hoping he's able to come home," she said in an interview Monday from her England home.
Paola Gourley was rushed to hospital by ambulance last week, two weeks before her due date, after she suffered bleeding due to stress.
Her sister, who did not give her name, said Gourley - who is scheduled to have a cesarean section on Oct. 26 - is still in hospital and in pain.
"She was told to rest," she said.
Gourley had appealed for Bahari's release on humanitarian, rather than political grounds, and said she wanted the Iranians to let her husband come home out of compassion because of her complicated pregnancy.
Bahari, who posted a bail of about $300,000, was at his mother's home in Tehran on Sunday.
Newsweek issued a statement on its website welcoming Bahari's release and speculating it may have been on humanitarian grounds. Spokeswoman Katherine Barna said Monday the magazine is not granting interviews.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression manager Julie Payne said the organization is relieved he's been released and is with family, but is concerned that his freedom to leave country may still be restricted.
Payne said the mass global mobilization to free Bahari, including online petitions, websites and Facebook groups, was one of the largest campaigns calling for a journalist's release she had seen.
"Obviously Canada cares about this a great deal. He is a Canadian-Iranian, but he had journalists from all over the world working for him and I think that's really powerful," she said.
"The Iranian government has responded in the past at times when there is a huge outcry, when there is this kind of very loud and very sustained support for somebody."
Gourley's plea may have been the final straw in securing the release of the well-respected veteran journalist, Payne added.
The CJFE will keep lobbying on Bahari's behalf until he is home, she said.
"He's been released on bail, but we want to know what that means, if he has freedom of movement."
His release is a step in the right direction for freedom of expression, said Payne, who added Iran is one of the biggest jailers of journalists in the world.
"There are many other journalists and bloggers still in jail and for no other reason than they tried to report on what was going on."
That group includes another journalist with dual Canadian and Iranian citizenship, blogger Hossein Derakhshan who was detained almost a year ago.
NDP Leader Jack Layton, who represents the Toronto riding Bahari lived in, said Monday that he will continue to monitor the Bahari situation. He called on the federal government to take a firm stance for the other prisoners of conscience jailed in Iran and insist on their immediate release as well.

Organizations: University College Hospital, Newsweek

Geographic location: TORONTO, Tehran, Iran London England Canada

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