Culture beat: Writer Maziar Bahari, imprisoned by Iran, will speak at Temple Israel

  • Article by: MARK BRUNSWICK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 8, 2013 - 5:24 PM

 

Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned, interrogated and beaten in Iran in 2009 on charges that he was attempting to stage the overthrow of the Iranian government, will be in town this weekend at Temple Israel in Minneapolis.

Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist, playwright and filmmaker, is also the subject of an upcoming film by Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show.”

Bahari and Stewart connected shortly before the 2009 re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when “The Daily Show” sent a correspondent to gauge Iranians’ views of America. The result was a satirical series “Behind the Veil: Minarets of Menace.”

The Iranian government didn’t find it very funny.

After the election, the government instigated massive arrests of bloggers, journalists and dissidents, including Bahari. He was held for 118 days and at one point confessed on international television that he had worked to promote revolution. He would say later the confession was coerced after physical and mental abuse by his interrogators.

Iranian authorities accused him of working with various spy agencies and masterminding coverage of the election by “the agents of the Western media in Iran,” using a copy of “The Daily Show” segment as evidence. He was eventually released after mounting international pressure.

His book, “Then They Came For Me,” became a New York Times bestseller and is the basis for the film with Stewart, “Rosewater,” which is scheduled for release next year.

Bahari is scheduled to speak at Temple Israel’s “Voices of Inspiration” benefit and speaker series at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Besides his personal story, Bahari will also speak on the past 50 years of regime change in Iran and the inner workings that are pushing the country into the future.

Tickets are open to all and start at $50 for general admission. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at www.templeisrael.com/benefit.htm or at the door.

 

Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434

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